Monday, October 20, 2014
Chicken Pox: to vaccinate or not vaccinate, that's the question.
My daughter D had this year traveled to USA, Mexico, New Zealand, Hong Kong and China. On Thursday, this week, she is flying back to New Zealand again.
We always remember when she was nine years old, we had planned a trip involving three countries and ten stops involving flying.
One third through our holiday, we were celebrating her ninth birthday at a place akin to lollyland. She was under the water, and not enjoying her birthday at all. Then my grandmother noticed the spots on her arms and back. She say D was having chicken pox.
I felt I was such a terrible mother. We had to stay in that town for a week. The airline said that we couldn't fly.
Our holiday was ruined. We were cooped up in the hotel room with a sick nine years old and a four year old. To make it worst, we didn't have travel insurance, and our tickets were forfeited.
That was our worst case scenario of our holiday. It was twenty years ago. If only there were vaccinations at that time.
Chicken pox is still around, I work in a primary school. Every now and then, we get a child with chicken pox.
What is chicken pox?
Chickenpox, is also known as varicella. It is a highly infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus. After recovery from chickenpox the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the nerves near the spine. Years later the virus can become active again and cause herpes zoster which is also known as shingles.
The General Manager of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) New Zealand, Anna Stove, says due to thesignificant complications and high risk of secondary infection, the Ministry of Healthrecommends Kiwi children are vaccinated for the chickenpox virus.
Generations of NewZealanders have been deliberately exposed to chickenpox in the past by parents seeking to ensure their child contracted the disease at an early stage in their development through attending chickenpox parties. What many parents are not aware of is that there is a risk ofsecondary infection and that the disease is preventable.
GSK are makers of the Varilrix® chickenpox vaccine, first licensed for use in 1994 and currentlyapproved for use in 96 countries including New Zealand, Australia, the United States andGermany.
Stove says the chickenpox vaccine has been shown to provide at least 20 years of protection,as that is the length of time vaccinated people have been followed.8
She says in countries like New Zealand, chickenpox commonly circulates in the community anda person's immunity is likely to be continually boosted, providing long-term protection after vaccination.
For more information on immunisation in New Zealand visit www.moh.govt.nz/immunisation
Varilrix® (live attenuated varicella vaccine) is available as an injection. Varilrix is a private-purchaseprescription medicine for immunisation and prophylaxis against varicella (chickenpox) in adults and children older than 9 months. You will need to pay for this medicine. Varilrix is funded for certain high-riskgroups and their contacts. Children aged 13 years and older need two doses with an interval betweendoses of at least 6 weeks. Two doses at least 6 weeks apart are also recommended for children agedbetween 9 months and 12 years, to provide optimal protection. Use strictly as directed. Do not have aVarilrix injection if you are allergic to Varilrix or to the antibiotic neomycin, if you have a high fever, if youhave a condition that causes lack of immunocompetence, or if you are pregnant. Pregnancy should beavoided for 3 months after vaccination. Tell your doctor before you have the vaccine if you have alowered resistance to disease or have a severe chronic disease. Common side effects: mild rash, asmall number of chicken-pox-like blisters, or pain, redness and swelling at the injection site. Uncommonside effects include fever, headache, cough, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes, and joint pain. If you haveany side effects, see your doctor, pharmacist, or health professional. Additional Consumer MedicineInformation for Varilrix is available at www.medsafe.govt.nz. Prices for Varilrix may vary across doctor;sclinics. Normal doctor's office visit fees apply. Ask your doctor if Varilrix is right for you. Varilrix is aregistered trade mark of the GlaxoSmithKline group of companies. Marketed by GlaxoSmithKline NZLimited, Auckland. TAPS No NA 7386/SE14/VAR/0020/14.
Adverse events involving GlaxoSmithKline products should be reported to GSK MedicalInformation on 0800 808 500.