Friday, September 4, 2009

Chicken Pox Vaccine

This has been a hot topic for me over the last few weeks. Our school district just announced that they require kindergartners to have, not only the original vaccine for chicken pox, but the booster as well.

This was a brand new vaccine the year my son was born. When he had it, they didn't know how long it would last or the severity of the chicken pox if he did get it. Not real helpful, but I dutifully got the vaccination, which was optional. My second and third children also received the vaccination.

Fast forward 4 years after more reading and knowing several children that have had chicken pox despite having the vaccine. The amount of time between boosters is getting shorter, too. We are the guinea pigs for this vaccine.

I talked with my pediatrician during the spring about this topic, before the school district made this their policy. She really wanted my oldest, 13, to have the booster because if he got chicken pox, it would likely be shingles at this point. I am probably okay with that decision.

I had been hearing so much more about shingles over the last few months, so I read up on it a bit more. I did not realize until a couple of years ago that shingles is basically chicken pox as an adult. It can be very painful and even life threatening. Chicken pox, when a child gets it, is rarely dangerous.

Years ago, as adults were around children -- and the population at large -- getting chicken pox, this was a good thing because it acted like a booster, protecting them from shingles. Now that chicken pox has been virtually removed from our US population we are seeing lots of older people having to get a shingles vaccine or actually getting shingles. We are giving a vaccine because of a vaccine! Just letting children get chicken pox would have been so much simpler.

So, now, if you decide to not have your child vaccinated against chicken pox and they are fortunate enough to actually get it, they will not have the natural booster of being around people with chicken pox throughout their life. They will eventually be forced into getting the shingles vaccine. Do you see where I am going with this? Americans have been forced into this system of vaccinations.

Don't get me wrong. I am not against all vaccinations. I think they have done some good things. This particular vaccination, however, is ridiculous. I am left with deciding, do I vaccinate my fourth child now, or in 10 years?

I live in Texas and it was incredibly simple to get the waiver for school. It is not a state law to immunize your child. The school nurse at my son's middle school recently sent home a paper that said that it was a state law that your child be current on his/her immunizations or they could not sit in the classroom. That is a false statement. Do not be bullied into immunizing your child if you do not feel good about it. Read up on it and be informed.

We will all be affected by this, not just our children. Good luck with this particular immunization -- now and throughout your life and your child's life.


Brannon and Emily Brock said...

Thank you for your insight on this subject! Such a help!

Donna Ryan said...

My favorite lactation consultant posted this comment on her FB and I copied it here:

"I agree with what you wrote on your blog. The varicella vaccine is ridiculous and is creating more problems than it is preventing. When you have 9-year-olds getting
shingles because they were vaccinated against chicken pox, that is a problem. I don't
necessarily think that all vaccines are bad in all situations, but I have a HUGE problem with the whole vaccine industry. Babies are given way too many vaccines way too early.

The problem is that it is a very, very difficult issue to research, as there is SO MUCH misinformation on both sides. Dr. Jay Gordon has a great video out that I think covers the issues very well. I have heard that Dr. Sears' Vaccine Book is also very good, but I
haven't read it personally."

Geer Family said...

Thank you!

Lena said...

I am in a tight spot with this one because I live with Grandma we do not want her to get shingles at all. She has had them once and yes, it was horrible. I'm not even sure where in the world she got them. We will be vaccinating because of that. If she didn't live here with us, I would probably forgo the vaccination. As far as I know, getting chicken pox as a child does not make you immune to shingles as an adult. Grandma is certain she did have them as a child. As you said, there is just too much in the "unknown" area for me to play with her safety. I'm hoping it doesn't put my children at risk later. They will probably just have to have the booster forever. I don't know a lot about the mortality rate from chicken pox but I remember thinking it was a silly thing to vaccinate against. Seemed almost like a rite of passage to get the chicken pox as a child. Not that I wish my children that kind of pain and the scarring that can go along with it. It can be nasty too. I suppose if they can eventually eradicate it- that would be a good thing.

Donna Ryan said...

The problem lies with adults, even when they had chicken pox as children, not being exposed to it throughout their lifetime. That would have provided a boost to their immunity. That's why so many older people are getting shingles, even if they had CP as a kid. We are all going to end up taking this booster.

Hannah said...

This is for Lena:

You can't get shingles from being around someone with chicken pox. However, someone with shingles can cause someone to get chicken pox. It doesn't work both ways. So, your grandma having shingles could cause chicken pox in your kids, but not vice versa.

Shingles tend to occur when your immune system is compromised - you don't really catch just lives dormant in your body and crops up when the sun, moon and stars align just right. :) I had them while pregnant and freakishly stressed with my third child. Mild case, thankfully.

Sturgy Fam said...

So many much to learn. Being a new mommy is exhausting. Parker gets shots soon, so I'll probably have a lot of questions for you.

Larry & Erica Evans said...

A few years ago Larry had shingles. Hey had open sores on his left side in and arch formation, along with extreme pain in certain nerve endings in his whole back and side. The Dr. told us that 10% of people who have had CP end up getting Shingles. They can be brought on by a blow to the area or stress. Larry's was stress. He had to be off of work for a week or so to heal the sores. Also, shingles are VERY contagious especially to preg. women. My grandpa also lived with the shingles that do not have open sores. Very painful. Larry still has slight effects from the shingles and that was about 9 yrs ago. It is a scary thing!

Donna Ryan said...

More and more bitter over this issue. I do know of a kid that has CP right now if anyone wants to get it. Is it ever an opportune time?! This is not a good time for me, but I'm thinking there will never be a good time.

Hannah, thanks for your comments. It's crazy how this whole thing works, isn't it? It really sounds like being around the chicken pox throughout your life provides a natural booster, but who is ever going to have that opportunity now?

memememe said...

I found this blog because I think I have shingles and googled it. I find this all very interesting. I have 3 children. The younger 2 were exposed several times to chicken pox in preschool and elementary but did not get them. The older one received one vaccine (she is now 22) and the younger (18y/o) one got a 2nd vaccine just last month. Now, I think I have shingles. 2 weeks ago I developed severe nerve pain in a dermatome pattern on my thigh. I ruptured a disk a couple yrs ago and had nerve pain in my arm from the disk. The pain I felt in my thigh felt exactly the same. Shortly after the pain I developed numbness on the inside of my thigh mid-thigh to mid-calf. Then it changed to a burning pain and clothing irritated it. I had an MRI because it was so similar to a ruptured disk and followed the nerve path for L-3 disk. MRI shows lots of "abnormalities" but not in the area of L-3. Today I wake up with red, raised bumpy, pimply looking patches all over the affected area. Is it just a coincidence that i get shingles shortly after my child gets the vaccine? Either way, I was happy to see the rash because a disk would mean physical therapy, pain clinic and possible surgery. I just can't get over how dang painful it's been

The Quinns said...

I know this is an old post but wanted to share anyway. My husband and his sister did not have chicken pox as children and they were raised with a large extended family with lots of cousins around all of the time. The cousins all got it but not my husband and sister in law. A pediatrician once told my mother in law that it might have has something to do with the fact that they has cows on their property and were in contact with them almost daily. He said he was just guessing but it was a theory. Since my husband never had it I did go ahead and have my daughters vaccinated bc of the risk to him getting it as an adult. My pediatrician agreed due to the long term effects than can result from adult chicken pox. I remember having them as a child and thinking it was great to be home from school but not feel bad other than the itching. And the best part was everyone in the neighborhood sent their kids over to play so they could go ahead and get it out of the way too! Seems like a case of trying to fix something that wasn't broken!

ACE61502 said...

"She really wanted my oldest, 13, to have the booster because if he got chicken pox, it would likely be shingles at this point."


"That's why so many older people are getting shingles, even if they had CP as a kid"

This is a doctor feeding off of fear and perpetuating bad information. Shingles is NOT adult/post-pubertal onset chicken pox. You can not get shingles if you have not had chicken pox. Shingles occurs when natural *or* vaccine induced immunity to chicken pox has waned from lack of exposure and the virus reactivates from within the body. You don't "catch" shingles, it was always there, but the immune system kept it in check. These kids are going to require boosters for life, and probably more often than the ridiculous tetanus boosters.

Adult onset chicken pox is much worse than childhood onset, but it is not shingles. HALF of all chicken pox deaths were in the few thousand annual cases of adult onset chicken pox. Now we'll have a lot more of those because the vaccine does not work well. Vaccinated kids can and do still get chicken pox, at older ages than "we" did. Vaccinated kids can and do get shingles, though many doctors are still pushing it on the basis that it prevents shingles. Hate to tell ya, doc, but the vaccine increases the risk of shingles for the entire population! That false claim was perpetuated based on a study in Japan, who has offered (NOT mandated) chicken pox vaccinated for decades. Because only 1 in 5 children get the vaccine it appears to be very successful. The vaccinated kids still get environmental exposure from those other 4, thus no need for booster shots and no shingles.

And shingles isn't just increasing for the older population. It's becoming epidemic. There are reports of 2 year olds with shingles. I personally know 4 people who had shingles in the last few years who are each in their mid-20's. Nearly unheard of 20 years ago, now commonplace.