According to a recent study in scientific journal Pediatrics, researchers have declared that chickenpox vaccine has several benefits besides keeping the dreaded disease at bay. After reviewing medical records of around 6 million children the researchers concluded that kids below 17 years that did not get chickenpox vaccine were four times more likely to develop shingles (a disease similar to chickenpox) than those that received the vaccine. Both diseases are caused by the virus varicella zoster. Once an individual gets chickenpox usually the virus hides within the body and gets reactivated later during middle age causing shingles.
Though shingles is commonly witnessed in people aged 50 and above that had chickenpox as children it sometimes even occurs in teenagers and children. According to study’s lead author Sheila Weinmann, a senior health investigator at Kaiser Permanente, parents should be aware that vaccination of varicella can product their children from chickenpox as well as shingles. In other words as vaccinated people grow older they have little to fear about contracting shingles. The researchers studied medical records of nearly six million teenagers and children of whom 3 million had received the vaccine while 3 million had not.
There are a large number of unvaccinated children in the group as the vaccine was introduced in 1995 and few have knowledge about it. The study which was carried out over a period of 12 years revealed that around 9044 of unvaccinated children got infected with shingles while only 5399 of vaccinated children got it. Weinmann stated that there are three possibilities about why children get shingles even after they have been vaccinated. This is because vaccines are not 100 % effective and maybe it does not protect the strain of chickenpox with which the vaccinated child would have been infected. Thirdly one may have already been infected with chickenpox before getting the vaccine and finally one can also contract shingles from weakened virus in the vaccine itself.
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