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Does The Chickenpox Vaccine Prevent Shingles

Who Should Be Vaccinated Against Chickenpox

How Can You Prevent Shingles

Chickenpox vaccination is recommended and funded in New Zealand for the following groups:

  • children turning 15 months of age
  • children turning 11 years of age who have never been infected with or previously vaccinated against chickenpox.

The vaccine is funded for certain high-risk individuals and/or their close contacts, regardless of age. People with a weakened immune system are at high risk, but may not be able to have the vaccination themselves, so it’s recommended that close contacts of these people be vaccinated. Discuss this with your GP.

Chickenpox vaccination is also recommended, but not funded, for:

  • teenagers and adults who have never been infected with or vaccinated against chickenpox
  • women who are planning a pregnancy and have never been infected with or vaccinated against chickenpox, such as those born and raised in tropical countries
  • people who are not immune to chickenpox and who are working in professions where they come into contact with young children
  • parents who have not had chickenpox.

You Can Get Chickenpox As An Adult

The majority of cases occur in kidsbut if you never had chickenpox and you’re exposed to the varicella zoster virus as an adult, you can certainly still come down with the illness. And unfortunately, you’re probably in for a worse ride: “It’s usually milder in kids,” says Dr. Parsons, also a dermatologist in private practice at Dermatology Consultants of Sacramento. In adults, the virus can be severe, potentially even leading to pneumonia or meningitis, she says.

Who Should Get The Shingles Vaccine

The CDC recommends all healthy adults ages 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine to prevent shingles and problems that can develop after youve had the disease. The two doses should be separated by two to six months. You should get the shingles vaccine even if you:

  • Have had shingles: If youve had shingles in the past, you should get the shingles vaccine to help prevent getting the disease again. You should wait until the shingles rash is gone before getting the vaccine.
  • Arent sure if youve had chickenpox: Studies show more than 99% of Americans ages 40 and older have had chickenpox at some point in their lives. You should get the shingles vaccine whether or not you remember having chickenpox because theyre caused by the same virus.
  • Received the old shingles vaccine : Before November 18, 2020, people were vaccinated with a shingles vaccine called Zostavax. You cant get Zostavax in the United States anymore. If you were vaccinated with Zostavax, you should get vaccinated with the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix.

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What Is The Shingles Vaccine

The shingles vaccine can protect you against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , which is the most common complication of shingles. Shingles is a painful rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. The rash usually develops on one side of your body or face. It starts with red bumps and then the bumps turn into fluid-filled blisters.

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Chickenpox (Varicella Disease)

According to Dr. Alexis Oliveros, an internist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt Manor, Shingles is an itchy and often painful rash that presents on one side of the body with an eruption of little blisters called vesicles and usually accompanied by fever. The shingles virus is not spread through coughing or sneezing, but by inhaling virus particles from the rash.

You cannot get shingles if you have not been infected by the chickenpox virus, says Dr. Oliveros. While a typical shingles episode lasts an average of ten days, some people who have shingles develop a condition called post herpetic neuralgia, which is a persistent pain in the area of the rash even after it has cleared up. This may last for months and, in rare cases, years. Fortunately, medications are available that can both shorten the duration of the painful rash and decrease the likelihood of post herpetic neuralgia if administered promptly.

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What Should I Do About An Exposure To Varicella

If you have been in contact with someone with chickenpox or shingles, or if you have a rash-associated illness that might be chickenpox or shingles, discuss your situation with your healthcare provider. Blood tests may be done to see if you have become infected with the virus or have had the disease in the past. If you are pregnant and not immune and have been exposed to chickenpox or shingles, call your healthcare provider immediately. Your provider may choose to treat you with a medication called varicella-zoster immune globulin , but in order for this medication to be most helpful, it needs to be given as soon as possible after your exposure to varicella.

A Living Booster Shot

The second reason that chickenpox isnt part of the UKs childhood vaccination programme is even more controversial. Some scientists think that being exposed to children with an active chickenpox infection will provide an immunity boost to adults who were infected with the disease, reducing the risk of a shingles reactivation.

While children with chickenpox will need to be kept away from adults who have never contracted or been vaccinated against the disease, adults who have had chickenpox are encouraged to spend time with infected children to minimise their shingles risk.

The NHS says: Being exposed to chickenpox as an adult boosts your immunity to shingles.

The hypothesis of using children as living booster jabs may not have a strong basis in reality.

If you vaccinate children against chickenpox, you lose this natural boosting, so immunity in adults will drop and more shingles cases will occur.

However, the statistics in favour of this are shaky. Several studies and surveillance data show no consistent trends in shingles incidence in countries that have introduced routine childhood varicella vaccines, indicating that the hypothesis of using children as living booster jabs may not have a strong basis in reality.

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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Chickenpox Immunisation

All medicines and vaccines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time theyre not.

For most people, the chance of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is much lower than the chance of serious harm if you caught the disease.

Talk to your doctor about possible side effects of chickenpox vaccines, or if you or your child have possible side effects that concern you.

Common side effects of chickenpox vaccines include:

  • pain, redness or swelling where the needle went in

The Consumer Medicine Information links in How do you get immunised against chickenpox? list the side effects of each vaccine.

Everything You Need To Know About Chickenpox And Why More Countries Dont Use The Vaccine

Chickenpox and Shingles (Zoster) Prevention

Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity, University of Oxford

Chickenpox symptoms appear 10-21 days after exposure of a person who hasnt met the disease before to an individual who is suffering from the disease. Individuals are infectious from one day before the onset of the rash until the spots have crusted over.

The first symptom is usually a high temperature, which settles over the next few days. About a day after the fever starts, the typical chickenpox rash appears. The rash appears as crops of new spots over the next few days and after five days most people stop cropping new spots and their fever has settled.

For the majority of children, chickenpox is just a rather unpleasant illness and a nuisance for their parents who have to take time off work to look after them. Most people develop the illness in childhood, but for those who dont, the illness is far more severe among adults. It is especially dangerous, and may even be fatal, if contracted in late pregnancy.

The disease can also be life-threatening for children and adults who are born with a poorly functioning immune system, in those receiving treatment for cancer and in patients with other conditions for which treatments are given to suppress the immune system .

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Can You Get Shingles After Youve Been Vaccinated

While the shingles vaccine is highly effective, some people can still get shingles. However, people who do get shingles after getting the shingles vaccine usually have milder symptoms and a shorter illness. Youll also be less likely to have complications from shingles, including postherpetic neuralgia.

What Illnesses Does Varicella

Chickenpox first occurs as a blister-like skin rash and fever. It takes from 10-21 days after exposure for someone to develop chickenpox. The sores commonly occur in batches with different stages present at the same time. The blisters usually scab over in 5 days. A person with chickenpox is contagious 1-2 days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs. Children with weakened immune systems may have blisters occurring for a prolonged time period. Adults can develop severe pneumonia and other serious complications.

Shingles occurs when the virus, which has been inactive for some time, becomes active again. Severe pain and numbness along nerve pathways, commonly on the trunk or on the face, are present. Clusters of blisters appear 1 to 5 days later. The blisters are usually on one side of the body and closer together than in chickenpox. Shingles does not spread as shingles from one person to another. If people who have never had chickenpox come in contact with the fluid from shingles blisters, they can develop chickenpox.

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The first study followed 322 children for four years. For the second study, the group looked at medical records of nearly 6.4 million children under the age of 18, calculating rates of shingles over 12 years.

They did see a higher rate of shingles among vaccinated 1-year olds as compared to unvaccinated children. But that difference quickly reversed. Among 2- and 3-year olds, there wasnt really a marked difference between the vaccinated and unvaccinated children. By age 4, the rates of shingles among unvaccinated children started to climb among vaccinated children, it declined slightly and then remained at a low and relatively stable rate.

The reason for the earlier shingles rate among 1-year-olds? They were being exposed to varicella virus before the unvaccinated children were. If they hadnt ever had chickenpox then they werent going to be likely to get shingles, Weinmann said of the unvaccinated 1-year olds.

But given the highly infectious nature of the varicella virus, that quickly changed, as the rates among older unvaccinated children showed. In the era before the varicella vaccine came on the market, virtually everyone contracted chickenpox in childhood the CDC estimated that every year about 4 million children were infected.

If I Want The Chickenpox Vaccine For My Child Can I Get It Free On The Nhs

Why Does Shingles Cause More Pain Than Chickenpox?

Chickenpox vaccinations are provided free on the NHS where there’s a clinical need, such as for healthy people who are not immune to chickenpox and are in close contact with someone who has a weakened immune system.

This is to reduce the risk of the person with a weakened immune system catching chickenpox and then developing serious chickenpox complications.

Examples of children who’d probably be eligible for a chickenpox jab on the NHS include the brothers and sisters of a child with leukaemia, or a child whose parent is undergoing chemotherapy.

You cannot get the chickenpox vaccine free on the NHS if you simply want to prevent your child catching chickenpox and there are no other associated health risks.

A number of private travel clinics offer chickenpox vaccinations.

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Chickenpox Vaccine Shields Against Shingles Too

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 10, 2019 — Shingles isn’t usually considered a kids’ disease, but children can get this painful condition. Fortunately, the chickenpox vaccine can also protect them against it, a new study finds.

“The virus that causes chickenpox also causes shingles. It’s pretty uncommon in kids, but we wanted to see what would happen to the rates of shingles among children over time as more kids received the vaccine,” said study lead author Sheila Weinmann. She’s a senior investigator and epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Ore.

What the researchers found was that kids who were vaccinated against chickenpox had a 78% lower risk of developing shingles. And the rate of shingles dropped in the entire group — vaccinated and unvaccinated — by 72% between 2003 and 2014.

Weinmann said the overall drop was large because so much less of the virus was circulating in the general population.

The study was published online June 10 in Pediatrics.

Dr. Anne Gershon from Columbia University wrote a companion editorial that argued all children should get the vaccine for the dual protection it offers.

“The vaccine is not only highly protective against chickenpox, but it protects against shingles as well,” she said. “Now we have to find out how long the protection will last.”

Since 2007, a booster at 4 and 6 years of age also has been recommended.

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Pediatrics

The Risks Of Poor Vaccine Uptake

According to the UK NHS website, there are two key reasons why chickenpox vaccines arent routinely administered in the country. The first has a lot to do with the increasing severity of the disease as people age.

The NHS says: If a childhood chickenpox vaccination programme were introduced, people would not catch chickenpox as children because the infection would no longer circulate in areas where the majority of children had been vaccinated.

It seems highly unlikely that UK parents would reject the chickenpox vaccine for their children while consenting to all the others.

This would leave unvaccinated children susceptible to contracting chickenpox as adults when theyre more likely to develop a more severe infection or a secondary complication, or in pregnancy, when theres a risk of the infection harming the baby.

If the chickenpox vaccine were introduced for young children in the UK but uptake was low, then reduced spread and consequential immunity during the early years would probably lead to a higher number of cases among older children and adults.

These people would then experience more severe illnesses with a higher risk of complications, increasing the burden of chickenpox on the healthcare system.

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Are Chickenpox And Shingles Serious Illnesses

The symptoms may be more severe in newborns, persons with weakened immune systems, and adults. Serious problems can occur and may include pneumonia , brain infection , and kidney problems. Many people are not aware that before a vaccine was available, approximately 10,600 persons were hospitalized, and 100 to 150 died, as a result of chickenpox in the U.S. every year.

What Everyone Should Know About The Shingles Vaccine

Chickenpox | Varicella Zoster Virus | Pathogenesis, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most common complication from shingles.

CDC recommends that adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease. Adults 19 years and older who have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix, as they have a higher risk of getting shingles and related complications.

Your doctor or pharmacist can give you Shingrix as a shot in your upper arm.

Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and PHN. In adults 50 years and older who have healthy immune systems, Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Immunity stays strong for at least the first 7 years after vaccination. In adults with weakened immune systems, studies show that Shingrix is 68%-91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on the condition that affects the immune system.

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Chickenpox Vaccine Linked To Lower Rates Of Shingles In Children Study Finds

The chickenpox vaccine appears to offer benefits beyond keeping the childhood illness at bay: It may also significantly reduce a childs risk of shingles, a large study released Monday finds.

In the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers reviewed the medical records of more than 6 million children, and found that those who did not get the chickenpox vaccine were over four times more likely to develop shingles before age 17 than those who were vaccinated.

Chickenpox and shingles are caused by the same virus, the varicella zoster virus. After a person is infected with chickenpox, the virus goes into hiding in the body and can reactivate later, causing shingles. While shingles is most commonly seen in people aged 50 and up who had chickenpox as children, it does sometimes occur in children and teens.

Where Can I Get Vaccinated

The best place to go for vaccinations is your family medical clinic. They have your medical records and can check to see if youve already had a particular vaccination. Either your doctor or a nurse can give the vaccination.If you dont have a family doctor, you can go to one of the after-hour medical clinics. Phone them first to make sure they can help you with the vaccination you need.You can find a clinic near you on the Healthpoint website. Put in your address and region, and under Select a service, click on GPs/Accident & Urgent Medical Care.Vaccines on the National Immunisation Schedule are free. Other vaccines are funded only for people at particular risk of disease. You can choose to pay for vaccines that you are not eligible to receive for free.

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What Is Chickenpox Vaccine

Chickenpox vaccine protects against infection from the varicella zoster virus, which causes chickenpox infection. The virus is easily spread by sneezing and coughing, or by contact with weeping chickenpox blisters. You can even catch the chickenpox virus from touching clothing or other objects that have fluid from the blister on them.The chickenpox vaccine is a live vaccine which is made using chickenpox viruses that have been weakened , before being included in the vaccine. After vaccination, the weakened vaccine viruses replicate inside you. This means a very small dose of virus is given to stimulate a response by your immune system. Live attenuated vaccines don’t usually cause disease in vaccinated people who have a healthy immune system. When a live attenuated vaccine does cause any illness, it is usually milder than if you had caught the disease. Live attenuated vaccines given by injection are generally effective after one dose.

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