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To Be Wavering About The Chicken Pox Jab at 10am Tomorrow?!

(28 Posts)
MagicalMrsMistoffelees Thu 21-Jul-16 22:40:36

We have booked an appointment at 10am tomorrow for our 15 month old son to have the chicken pox vaccination. We want him to have it mainly because he has eczema and when our middle son (who also has eczema) had chicken pox it was pretty horrible.

However, I'm wavering because the immunity from the vaccination doesn't last forever and no one really knows how long it does last. And when the immunity wears off he will be at risk of catching chicken pox and could end up catching it when he is 15 or 25 or 50 - and it'll be worse then, surely?

But all vaccinations wear off eventually (don't they?) and yet that doesn't stop us getting all the routine NHS ones. Why is that? Is it because mass immunisations of things like mumps and polio means that, even when the immunity from vaccination does wear off, you are very unlikely to catch it?

Please help me decide whether I am being reasonable to get the chicken pox vaccination for my son or not!

amazingtracy Thu 21-Jul-16 22:52:54

As some who barely survived this virus, I didn't hesitate to get it for my child. There was a severe outbreak at my child's school around May- Any child who didn't already have it was hit with an awful dose- every child was out for 4-5 weeks and were quite ill with it. My child (now 8) did get a couple of more than 20 in all, he wasn't sickly with it and was back in school the following week.

Best money I ever spent! We are lucky to have this as an option!

GertrudeMoo Thu 21-Jul-16 22:54:58

Diffucult really. I think it's a very personal decision. My baby was covered head to foot in eczema when she caught chicken pox (aged 5 months) and strangely the eczema completely disappeared when the spots arrived, however the spots spread like wildfire due to her having had a lot of steroid creams used during the incubation period and she ended up very ill and was hospitalised. I would not have thought to have her vaccinated though. I think some illnesses are important for building our immune systems. Severe pox is quite rare, but definitely avoid steroid creams if your child has been exposed to cpox.

HarryPottersMagicWand Thu 21-Jul-16 22:59:58

Neither of mine have had it yet, they are 5 and 8. I have said to them if they don't catch it before their teenagers i'll be getting them vaccinated.

Personally I wouldn't do as a baby because I assume they will get it in childhood. But then they have both been exposed quite a few times and just haven't picked it up. It does wear off and an adult will need to get a booster done. I guess you would need to hope they actually bother to do this.

DS does have eczema too but it's now quite mild and has got milder the older he has got. He did have it quite badly as a baby.

MagicalMrsMistoffelees Thu 21-Jul-16 23:12:30

I just wonder how long the vaccination provides immunity for?

And do all adults who have the vaccination as a child end up catching it in the end because surely they don't all keep getting boosters? We don't get boosters for the other diseases that we're vaccinated against do we and yet you don't see adults catching diphtheria or mumps.

I feel stupidly ill-informed even though I've been researching for what seems like ages!

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Thu 21-Jul-16 23:22:28

I vaccinated my daughter. With the two doses the protection appears to be life long and if you don't get the virus you can't get shingles.

The vaccine is routine in Germany, USA and other countries so there's good evidence it is both safe and effective.

It is a live vaccine so you do have to keep the child away to anyone with compromised immunity or pregnant women who haven't had cp.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Thu 21-Jul-16 23:25:39

This is an interesting read from a well regarded source:

MoonlightMedicine Thu 21-Jul-16 23:31:13

I've had my 2 done. (4 and 1 at the time). I asked about the 'length of cover' and if they would need a booster. The nurse confidently told me they would be protected for life.

MagicalMrsMistoffelees Thu 21-Jul-16 23:40:47

Ah well that's a totally different scenario then - immunity for life = a no brainer. If that is true - or even if there is a high chance of life long immunity - I wouldn't hesitate.

Hillbilly71 Thu 21-Jul-16 23:41:50

Please get the vaccine. My 1 year old nearly died from chickenpox infections in 2005. Another boy who got it the same time didn't survive. If you look it up, chickenpox kills more children in this country than mumps etc.

SouperSal Thu 21-Jul-16 23:43:15

DD has not long had CP. She had a horrendous dose. I still wouldn't have vaccinated her against it.

MagicalMrsMistoffelees Thu 21-Jul-16 23:56:56

Thanks for all your comments and for the link which I've read. I didn't understand all the jargon but got the gist! smile

I absolutely want to get the vaccination for him but only if I'm sure that I won't be making things worse for him by leaving him vulnerable to catching CP when he's an adult.

I suppose the $64 million question is how long does the vaccine last for? And frustratingly there doesn't seem to be a definitive answer!

Hopefully the nurse tomorrow will be able to advise. Will let you know how we get on! grin

eachtigertires Fri 22-Jul-16 00:53:00

It is routine here (Canada). A friends baby recently had the vaccine with no ill effects although my friend knows of a few people whose kids have had a mild case just after their vaccination. I had CP as a kid, never had the vaccine and have had to have bloods done to prove I am immune.

ThatGingerOne Fri 22-Jul-16 01:14:26

As the Chicken Pox vaccine is relatively new it is unknown how long exactly that the vaccine will last however research suggests 20 years or so. Even if it is only 5 or 10 years it would still be worth getting. When your child is younger they are more suseptible to the more dangerous effects or the Varicella zoster virus just like the elderly and pregnant are.

I have had chicken pox 3 times in my childhood and ended up with shingles after all of that at the age of 12. If the vaccine had been around when I was younger my mother would have gotten it for me straight away. The virus has been known to kill, deafen and seriously disable some who have had it so even just a few years of protection until the immune system is a little more mature is worth this vaccine.

Also vaccine boosters are given to high school children for Mumps, Measles and Rubella. Also Tetanus jab boosters are given at high school age and for each time we cut ourselves dangerously. Vaccines are not and never will be a one time thing. The hope is to prevent and fight the infecting virus before illness can develop and give the immune system time to create and recall those necessary antibodies smile

Caterina99 Fri 22-Jul-16 01:31:39

No idea about how long it lasts sorry, but I'm in the US and DS had the chickenpox vaccination last month (12 months) as standard. He had no reaction to it.

I hope it's life long protection. DH had cp at 25 and it was horrible. I had it as a child and was really ill too.

LucyBabs Fri 22-Jul-16 01:35:02

thatgingerone 3 times? How? Surely your immune system will fight the virus if faced with it a second time? Is there more than one type of CP virus?

Careforadrink Fri 22-Jul-16 01:36:06

I had the vaccine but I still got chickenpox so just be aware that it may not be that effective

ThatGingerOne Fri 22-Jul-16 01:45:48

No idea how really. I had it when I was about 2 then when I was 6, again when I was 7. It is rare but having it more than once can happen apparently. There are different strains of the Vericella virus much like there are thousands of different strains of the flu. Must be unlucky [ I do have 4 brothers though so maybe I caught it through the massive amounts of kids running in and out of the house [grins] ]

Must of cost my mother a fortune in calamine lotion and oatmeal baths!

Jenny70 Fri 22-Jul-16 01:46:44

We are in Australia, and the CP vaccine is on our standard vaccination program here - and you never hear of it sweeping through classes/daycare etc. Or if you do hear of individuals with it (like my nephews, who seem to be susceptible to getting it over and over), it is like 10 spots, not a great bother.

When we lived in the UK, chicken pox would sweep through school/nursery every 3yrs or so, and most of the class would get it one way or another (might miss first wave, then catch it on next time through etc). Some children would be absolutely covered and miserable with it, always in very hot weather or very cold, which made the itching worse.

So from my experience, they are going to be exposed to the virus at some point. Having the vac means a much lower response and milder dose (10 spots, versus covered and feeling terrible). Some children may get it over and over, regardless of vac or catching it "properly", that's just a random immunity thing - but each time is mild dose, not full blown CP.

No-one will be able to tell you exactly how long your immunity will last for, but as an adult your child will be able to have blood tests to see if they have an immune response to it, and then choose if they want a booster. Or medical technology may have moved further - they may "scan" for immune responses etc.

I am a believer in doing it, but maybe raise your concerns with the dr/nurse at the appointment, they will have the most current information.

Piratepete1 Fri 22-Jul-16 07:33:05

Get it done. They can always get a booster later in life but chances are they'll never need it. The US have been using the vaccine for years and people don't suddenly get a severe case when they are older. You will still be exposed to it, your body will just be able to fight it.

Piratepete1 Fri 22-Jul-16 07:33:53

Please get your child the Men B vaccination as well if they haven't already had it.

Mawsymoo Fri 22-Jul-16 07:37:21

I got it for DS1 and will for DS2 once he's old enough. When they're around 15 I'll get them tested for antibodies and if immunity has dropped they can have a booster shot.

bumbleymummy Fri 22-Jul-16 07:50:44

"When your child is younger they are more suseptible to the more dangerous effects or the Varicella zoster virus just like the elderly and pregnant are."

This isn't true. Adults are much more likely to have complications from CP than children. (This doesn't mean that children will never suffer any complications - they are just less likely to.)

magical there have been recent outbreaks of mumps in adults (mainly student age) due to waning immunity from the vaccine. I think a mumps booster may be offered now because mumps is also more risky in adults.

Personally, I wouldn't vaccinate against CP young (unless there was a medical reason for it) - for the reasons that you have given about immunity waning in adulthood when they are more at risk. I think HarrryPotter's idea - to vaccinate if they haven't had it by the time they're a teenager - makes more sense. Each to their own though.

Just to share my own experience - my DC have had CP and, despite having lots of spots, weren't really unwell at all. They were still playing and running around. I don't know anyone outside of MN who has had serious complications beyond a few infected spots that cleared up with antibiotic cream. I can understand why you might be more worried if your older child had it badly though.

Good luck with your decision. thanks

liquidrevolution Fri 22-Jul-16 08:11:34

Dd has just had her second dose of c pox vaccination. There was such a nasty strain here last year I didn't want to risk it. it would cost more to take time off work to care for her and her best friend has scars on her face and shoulders from having it a year ago.

MagicalMrsMistoffelees Fri 22-Jul-16 08:40:42

Thank you for all your well-thought out and reasoned arguments. Definitely MN at its best!

Pirate thank you for mentioning the fact the US doesn't have sudden outbreaks in adults - though I'd be interested to know how much this is due to CP being part of the standard childhood vaccination schedule and therefore an uncommon disease that people are less likely to be exposed to and how much due to residual immunity. I guess that question lies at the cup of my dilemma!

Bumble I think they are now offering 14 year olds boosters in polio, dip and tetanus when they get their meningitis vaccination. I wonder if an MMR booster will added if mumps is making a come back?

I will ask about the Men B today too - thanks for the reminder! But then should I get my 6 and 9 year olds vaccinated against Men B too?!

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