Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How effective is the chickenpox vaccine? In a word, very

A transmission electron microscopy image of Human herpes virus 3 (also known as the Varicella zoster virus), the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles. Via wikipedia

I've posted many times about the chickenpox and shingles on my page. It's a viral disease that many people catch as children, but the older you get, the worse the symptoms are with an increased risk of death. It also has the nasty habit of hiding out in people's nerves and reemerging later in life as a very painful condition called shingles. I've made three infographics on this virus and the vaccine that can prevent it, but there is new data on how effective the vaccine really is.

First the infographics:

An infographic on the chickenpox.

An infographic on shingles.

An infographic on the impacts of the chickenpox vaccine.

The CDC has released new calculations on how effective this vaccine is with the two-dose series. The initial one-dose series reduced incidence of chickenpox by 90%. However, there were still outbreaks of the disease so researchers and healthcare professionals recommended a second dose. This second dose has been highly effective, reducing incidence a further 84.6% with the greatest impact on those 5 to 9 years old (89.3% reduction). Overall, the vaccine has reduced incidence by 97%. In some states, it was difficult to determine the incidence as the disease had been significantly reduced. 

There are some countries that don't use this vaccine (the UK being one); however, based on how effective this vaccine is, they have begun clinical trials of the vaccine. Hopefully, they adopt this vaccine; as it protects against both the chickenpox and later on shingles (if you are immune to the chickenpox without being infected by the virus, you don't get shingles). 

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