Varicella vaccination

Children vaccinated against varicella are much less likely to develop shingles, according to a US database study covering more than six million children.

A large US study looked at 6.3 million e-health records.

In a study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found the relative risk of developing zoster was 78% lower among children who received the varicella vaccine than those who went unvaccinated.

While vaccinated one-year-olds had a 140% higher relative risk of developing zoster than unvaccinated children, that risk had largely disappeared by the time they were two.

“For those aged five to 17 years, rates were much lower in vaccinated than unvaccinated children,” the authors said in a video for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“This study reinforces that routine varicella vaccination in children reduces the incidence of herpes zoster.”

Using electronic medical records from 2003 to 2014, the authors looked for cases of zoster among 6.3 million vaccinated and unvaccinated children aged 0-17.

They found the rate of herpes zoster among vaccinated children was 38 per 100,000 compared with 170 per 100,000 who were not vaccinated.

Overall the zoster incidence declined by 72% during the entire study period, which might have been due to an increasing number of immunised children creating herd immunity, the authors said.

Among vaccinated children aged four and older, receiving the second dose roughly halved the incidence of zoster compared with a single dose.

The Australian childhood vaccination schedule includes a single dose of varicella vaccine at 18 months.

 

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