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Chickenpox Vaccination of Children Helps Protect Infants, Too

12/1/2011

By Denise Mann
WebMD Health News

Nov. 28, 2011 -- Chickenpox infection can be life-threatening for infants who are too young to receive the chickenpox vaccine. The good news is that the routine vaccination of children aged 1 and older has shown spillover benefits for infants.

The U.S. began recommending a single dose of the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine for children aged 12 months and older in 1995. A second dose was added to the immunization schedule in 2006.  Before the vaccine was recommended, infants were four times more likely to die from chickenpox compared to children aged 1 to 14.  Not anymore.

There has been close to a 90% drop in the rate of chickenpox among infants from 1995 to 2008, even though they are not eligible for the vaccine.  "Vaccinating children aged 12 months and older protects infants who are too young to be vaccinated," says study researcher Adriana S. Lopez, MHS. She is an epidemiologist at the CDC in Atlanta.

To read the full article go to http://children.webmd.com/vaccines/news/20111127/chickenpox-vaccination-of-children-helps-protect-infants-too

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