Monday, October 20, 2014

Chicken Pox: to vaccinate or not vaccinate, that's the question.

child healed back after staph infection of blisters.

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

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  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.

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