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Chicken pox vaccine for 2 year old with new baby due - don't know what to do....

(20 Posts)
sw11mumofone Wed 16-Jan-13 21:06:07

I am contemplating getting the cp vaccine for my 2.5 year old. It is going round our area and her nursery at the moment and we have a new baby due shortly. I am worried that if my DD gets it when the baby is tiny it could be dangerous for the baby. Also my DD has suffered a few issues and I feel if I can prevent her suffering chicken pox then shouldn't I do so?

However I am concerned about whether I would actually be doing her a disservice if the vaccine doesn't in fact provide life long immunity. And also whether ultimately it would be better for her to get cp naturally and get immunity that way, despite the illnesses she has suffered to date. Does the vaccine just do what catching cp would do anyway?

I really don't know what the best option is. Does anyone have any advice or opinions?


PoppyWearer Wed 16-Jan-13 21:17:41

Other countries do vaccinate. I have a lot of friends in the U.S. and when I was in a similar position to you (pregnant with a nearly-3yo Dc1), they urged me to vaccinate.

I phoned a private GP, who I already use for the flu vaccines. She ended up talking me out of it. In my case, my DC1 had chickenpox, very mildly, as a baby, so instead she said a more appropriate course of action rather than blindly immunising would be to test her for immunity first. She then said that blood tests on a young child were probably something I would need to think about.

She and the midwives I asked about it also said that the baby would likely have my immunity due to breast feeding (I took this with a pinch of salt as my own DC1 was only 4-5mo and bf'ing when she caught it!). But they all seemed to be's a small risk.

IIRC, the chickenpox vaccine was expensive enough to make me think twice, over £100 certainly and it may even have been two doses needed. I know you can't put a price on health, but in the end DH and I decided not to vaccinate DC1. There may also have been the fact that I was at the end of the pregnancy and the vaccine might not have taken effect in time anyway.

DC2 has recently had CP at 15mo and DC1 didn't catch it again, so it seems she is immune and the vaccination or blood tests would have been a waste of time, tears and money.

I should add that I also know plenty of children who have been exposed at nursery and school many times and never caught it, your DD could be one of the lucky ones.

My view is that chickenpox can be very nasty (there was a recent thread) BUT if the risk were bad enough, the vaccine would be rolled into the MMR. And it currently isn't.

But, if you can afford it then why not look into it?

sw11mumofone Wed 16-Jan-13 21:52:18

Thanks very much for taking the time to write back Poppywearer. It's good to hear as many points of view as possible. My DD has been exposed to cp three times now and not picked it up. Probably would have been better if she had!!!

This decision is just as much about sparing her from something potentially nasty as it is about the new baby catching it. I had it very badly as a child and remember it well. I am not too worried about the cost purely as I am more concerned about the health issues/benefits of the decision I make so will find the money if it's the best course of action.

I like the idea of her having the jab and then either never getting cp or getting it mildly. But just still feel funny about injecting her with something that I'm not obliged to!! Then on the other hand by doing that I could save her from a potentially horrible illness.

Im going round and round in circles.....

PoppyWearer Wed 16-Jan-13 21:59:36

Find a private GP or clinic who offer the jab and call them for advice?

Ask your midwife?

sw11mumofone Wed 16-Jan-13 22:03:46

I have found a private GP who will do it tomorrow if I want. They are encouraging me to do it. But is that because they want the business - is their advice impartial? I am seeing our regular GP tomorrow with my daughter for something unrelated so will ask him too.

saggybaps Wed 16-Jan-13 22:09:34

My 2 year old caught chicken pox at nursery, it affected her mildly. A little bit of itching the first night, lots of spots but the worst bit was staying in for 5 days.

Unfortunately she passed it to my baby who was 5 months old, he in comparison had it worse. For two days the poor little thing was really under the weather & my beautiful baby was covered in spots. At the time I wished I had vaccinated, but in hindsight, aside from the unsightly spots he was fine. Glad he had it although would have preferred him to have been a bit older.

Not sure if that helps.

Needalifeagain Wed 16-Jan-13 22:15:59

Vaccinated my DD as we know quite a few people who have had it quite badly involving hospitalisation. Just wanted to avoid any unnecessary suffering.
GP said he has vaccinated his children and many of his colleagues do the same.
We also go abroad quite a bit and did not fancy being stuck abroad for an extra 10 days like a friend of ours did.
No regrets vaccinating especially when you consider so commonplace in other countries.

Liveinthepresent Wed 16-Jan-13 22:26:39

I have just vaccinated DD - lots of reasons - partly because I am pregnant and already have had it twice myself - once as an adult and it was awful - and NHS won't test my immunity . Can't really cope with the amount of time off work if she gets it , and DH has never had it so thought we reduce his risk if we know DD very unlikely to get it.
As for DD she also has eczema which I believe can mean c pox would be worse for her.

With all these personal elements at play - and based on the fact it is part of many other countries immunisation programme we thought it was worth paying for.

Liveinthepresent Wed 16-Jan-13 22:31:15

Ps you will in my experience find it hard to get impartial advice from gp.
The private ones will say it is advisable - but you won't know their true motivation as you say - and I think NHS GP are in a difficult position that if they say this should be offered people will be frustrated it isn't part of the vaccine programme

SuiGeneris Wed 16-Jan-13 22:39:25

We were in the same position as you, OP, a year ago and vaccinated. Am very glad we did as chickenpox has done the rounds (and we live near you) and DC2 has caught many of the bugs brought home by DC1.

sashh Thu 17-Jan-13 05:03:51


Your todler is probably imune, maybe she had a very mild case, a single spot you didn't see.

Could you have the vacine when the baby is born? I'm not an expert but I know some MNs are very knowledgable but could you give your baby protection through breast milk if you were vacinated?

I realise I could be talking absoloute guff

sw11mumofone Thu 17-Jan-13 14:16:16

Thank you all for your responses. It is helpful to hear what other people have done and why. I really feel I would like to spare her the suffering of something that she could get badly. My biggest concern is whether I will be jeopardising her future health. I.e. what if immunity doesn't last and she gets it again as an adult?

For those of you who did vaccinate were you given any advice on whether immunity from the vaccine is lifelong? I suppose no one would really know that yet as the vaccine has only been around for 20-30 years...that is my biggest concern. That to get it now, even if badly, it would set her up for life. What do you think?


Liveinthepresent Thu 17-Jan-13 21:05:31

For what its worth - my understanding ( obviously no expert just made the decsion recently) is that there are no guarantees of lifelong immunity from c pox whether it is gained from a vaccine or the real thing.
I was told that in the USA they now do a booster a year later - but that immunity is something like 90% plus likely from the one jab ( this seems to be the case with most jabs there are no guarantees and boosters are given to increase chances )- the GP who did DDs said he has never seen a serious case in a vaccinated child. I found this very reassuring.
Realistically after 20 years or so I think I would hope DD would vaccinate again to extend protection - as I wouldn't want her to get it as an adult - or indeed be more vulnerable to shingles. I will seek advice on this for guidance on how long we can leave it.

It is hard to make these decisions - it would be easier if we could test for immunity as required but I am told this isn't an option.

My thoughts were that I was making the decision based on what was best for us as a whole family - protecting my unborn baby as best I could as well as not risking c pox causing DD ( or me or DH !!) any undue upset.
Happy with my decision for now!!


sw11mumofone Fri 18-Jan-13 10:02:17

Liveinthepresent - thank you for your post. Appreciate you taking the time to share your opinion. I agree with your reasoning and have booked DD in for her jab tomorrow. i'm glad to have finally made a decision. Although I saw my GP this morning for a check up and picked her brains. Her opinion was that the cp vaccine isn't a particularly effective one and that she has seen a few severe cases of c pox after being vaccinated. Everyone has a different view! However I have weighed up all arguments and made my decision. And I agree that I will encourage my DD to have a booster in early adulthood - that is if I have a daughter who listens to a word I say at the age of 20!!!!!

Thanks again for all the comments. It really helped me make up my mind x

CatherinaJTV Sat 19-Jan-13 16:33:11

I think you made a good decision, the daughter of a friend of mine came down with chicken pox in the week before her due date with little brother and had to move to grandma for three weeks, not to risk neonatal chicken pox with the little one - all very traumatic (and she got chicken pox a second time a year later). My DD had the chicken pox shot (one) and got boosted when her baby brother caught them at age 6 months (and again at 2.5 years).

Liveinthepresent Sat 19-Jan-13 23:01:42

Thanks SW11 hope jab went ok today. I hated taking DD for something I had chosen to subject her to rather than routine jabs - but did it for good reasons!

Interesting Catherina makes me relieved to think I have hopefully reduced the risk of your friends type scenario! Also because I have had it twice ( quite badly) I just can't face the stress of worrying every time there is a case at DD nursery.

sw11mumofone Mon 21-Jan-13 14:25:05

Jab went fine thanks. Nothing that some chocolate ice cream couldn't assist with anyway. I agree with you. I felt terrible all morning because I knew I was putting DD through something that wasn't obligatory! Now it's done I feel so relieved and feel I made the right decision. I couldnt bear having to ship her away if she got it when the baby was tiny. And my sister's paediatrician in France said she would definitely recommend I go ahead with it which was the final bit of advice that made up my mind. So apparently she is now 70-80% immune until the next jab in 6 weeks time. The GP I saw said not to worry about shingles later in life as there is a vaccine for that too. Also he said that he thinks the c pox vaccine will be rolled out on the nhs in the next few years. In the meantime hopefully I have prevented my DD suffering and Us ending up in the horrible scenario that Catherina describes above. Thanks again for all your input. X

Liveinthepresent Tue 22-Jan-13 14:29:06

Not sure if anyone will still be reading - it appears my DD has got chickenpox - which presumably means I was very unlucky with my timing and she had already been exposed.
Got to go for a blood test tomorrow now to test my immunity - fingers crossed - trying not to worry.

CatherinaJTV Tue 22-Jan-13 17:46:21

yikes - so sorry. Hope you'll be perfectly immune!

Liveinthepresent Thu 24-Jan-13 21:08:45

Thanks - should get results tomorrow am sure twice must be enough to give me immunity!
Meanwhile to anyone considering the jab I am even more convinced its a good idea having seen how horrible even a normal case of chickenpox is for an under 2. Day three of more spots, more itching and unhappy DD.
Poor thing.

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