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  #21  
Old 01.02.2013, 03:36
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

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If I were the Op I would hold off on vaccinating my child until they are much older as it is highly likely that they will catch it in the meantime if they are living in Switzerland. I they haven't caught it before the reach puberty I would suggest that then would be a good time to vaccinate.
Why? Doesn't anyone remember having that shit as a kid? It's like a burning itching NEED that you don't have the self-control or sense to not scratch into oblivion. I still bear a scar from the scratching. Just because it's not likely to kill you doesn't mean that it's a f-ing funtastic adventure a child will really enjoy either in childhood OR later in life if they develop shingles. Hoo, yeah, I hope those kids who have parents who took them to a pox party to infect them mete out an appropriate revenge when they are older.

What is it with the anti-vaccine attitude of folks these days? You have all the whizzy gadgets up the wazoo but, yet, when it comes to your kids, you give them a Yugo and a cave to live it up with the bone people in term of health care.
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  #22  
Old 01.02.2013, 07:58
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

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Too bad. I got vaccinated recently not to become infected, if my daughter brings this virus home during my next pregnancy. I hope that the vaccine worked in my case.

But probably it is possible to do a blood analysis to check if the one has antibodies after vaccination?
Yes, the doctor should check you if you tell them that you are planning to get pregnant, and they check you when pregnant just in case...

Babies whose mothers are not immune are also going to be higher risk than babies who have some residual immunity from their mother...

I caught chicken pox the first winter here in Switzerland. I had 'residual' immunity when pregnant two years previously (was checked), but caught full chicken pox (not shingles) when my kids brought it home from school. I did a lot of reading to try to work out why I managed to catch it - most likely the high exposure of having a child in the house coming down with the virus (you get a worse case usually if you catch it from someone in the household, than if another kid sneezes on you at school).... and also that the strain in Europe is probably different to the one in Australia.

I'd been exposed to it quite a few times previously, and my siblings had it when I was a child, but never had a 'proper' case...until 2008.

I was *very* ill - fever over 40 degrees, spots from head-to-toe and everywhere else, and quite delirious for a couple of days. I even got spots in my eyelids, and ears, but not in my eyes...

I'm not a scratcher generally, although I get allergies, I don't usually harm my skin when I scratch, and I managed not to get any infection or scarring - I stayed in air conditioning, cotton sheets, lots of calamine lotion and as clean as possible. Scarring is usually caused by a secondary infection in the lesion rather than the pox itself, and I was very mindful of that - my brother has a chicken pox scar right in the centre of his forehead...
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Old 01.02.2013, 08:23
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

My daughter came down with chicken pox when she was only 6 months old, too young for the vaccine. And believe me, chicken pox on such a young child is just HELL! Applying calamine lotion on a child who can't sit up alone is next to impossible, and the spots in her nappy area were very painful.

We actually ended up at hospital as two spots on her face became over-infected and required special cares.

So granted, chicken pox is not exactly lethal, but it's really no fun! I wish I had time to do the vaccine
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  #24  
Old 01.02.2013, 08:52
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

Best to let young children get chicken pox and then you have the immunity. Still normal in many countries not to vaccinate against it unless you are older.

I had it as a child and I was very generous in spreading it to my brothers who like me developed the immunity. My unborn brother was unlucky and never had it so now he needs to avoid it if children appear with the disease
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Old 01.02.2013, 09:01
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

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The vaccination against varicella is very effective. In addition, getting vaccinations is always not only about protecting the vaccinated but also to protect other people, for example pregnant women in the case of chicken pox. It's sad that most average and below average medical students seem to become either pediatrician or general practitioners …
Goodness, you must not think a lot of general practitioners. In Switzerland, we don't have enough of these good doctors because they make less money than specialists.

I view GPs like I view teachers: Good general practitioners and good teachers are worth their weight in gold. Their services are the fundament for happy and healthy lives.
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Old 01.02.2013, 10:10
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

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Why? Doesn't anyone remember having that shit as a kid? It's like a burning itching NEED that you don't have the self-control or sense to not scratch into oblivion. I still bear a scar from the scratching. Just because it's not likely to kill you doesn't mean that it's a f-ing funtastic adventure a child will really enjoy either in childhood OR later in life if they develop shingles. Hoo, yeah, I hope those kids who have parents who took them to a pox party to infect them mete out an appropriate revenge when they are older.

What is it with the anti-vaccine attitude of folks these days? You have all the whizzy gadgets up the wazoo but, yet, when it comes to your kids, you give them a Yugo and a cave to live it up with the bone people in term of health care.
Yes I remember very well having chicken pox as a kid and it is really unpleasant but a good dose of chicken pox as a kid will offer far greater immunity overall than the vaccine will. And the chicken pox vaccine does not protect against shingles in fact the number of cases of shingles has increased in the US since the chicken pox vaccine was widely introduced.

I am not anti vaccine at all, quite the reverse in fact, but I personally don't see the chicken pox vaccine as being useful in young children.
Having worked in vaccine research before moving to Switzerland it is a subject I am familiar with.
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Old 01.02.2013, 10:40
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

Not a standard vaccine for children here I understand and also not in New Zealand but as parents to young children, we opted to pay for the vaccine ourselves (in NZ before we came over).
The main reasons for us were that if the child got it:
1. The child suffers from about 10 days of (not necessarily all but possibly), fever, fatigue, itchy spots ALL over the body (incl. private parts and inside ears, nose mouth), pus coming out of the spots if scratched, potential for scarring
2. The child is infectious until the last spot has dried up so if both parents are working (as we both were in NZ), one parent needs to take time off work to look after the child - usually around 7-10 days. So you could compare the cost of 10 days' leave vs the cost of the vaccine.

Of course, all children don't have the same reaction, e.g. I know a family where both boys got it, the first one with spots but no fever and seemed to be generally fine when he had it but the 2nd child had a fever and was absolutely miserable for days, keeping the parents up during the night etc.

And even though both of my girls were vaccinated, my eldest still caught a very mild dose of it that only lasted about 3 days.

In the end, ask yourself if it is a risk you willing to take by not vaccinating.
Hope that helps,
Jane
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  #28  
Old 01.02.2013, 10:54
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

Hi!

Yes, I vaccinated both children against it.

For my daugher, who is 4, we had to request the single vaccine and doc reccommended 2 doses to maximize effect.

For my son, who is 20 months, we have used a combined MMR+Chicken pox vaccine so it is only one shot.

Just one thought which my great doctor shared with me and which was used as a factor for decision making within our family: for sure chicken pox is not lethal, but it is also not pleasant and lasts quite a while. Apart from the discomfort of the child, do you work? And if so, do you have a setup which would enable one parent to be at home throughout? A support system etc?

We considered all factors and since we both work and no family around, we decided it was best to maximize our chances of avoiding this.

Cheers,
K
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  #29  
Old 01.02.2013, 11:09
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

A quick survey of google suggests that the vaccine is about 85% effective from the second year after vaccination (More effective in the first year). I guess this is less effective than the typical measles or other vaccines given to kids. Chix pox is miserable. I had it when I was 6, and still have a scar under my eyebrow and on my leg from the experience. Crap, I had it more than 50 years ago (ok, well, 51). Jeeeeeze. Stuff like that always reminds me that I am an adult. Alas.
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  #30  
Old 01.02.2013, 11:10
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

I didn't vaccinate, as it's not standard in the UK.

My daughter got chickenpox at 22months and was fine. Spots but no scratching, running around like a mad child and generally carrying on as normal. Her spots dried up after 7 days (Thursday), but I kept her off until the Monday, just in case.

Of course, it did lead to my divorce as my husband refused to come back from his mistresses house to help me look after her because she was not allowed at nursery and I had an important meeting at work, but that is a very rare side effect.

My cousin (who was pregnant, but had had the disease) was happy to hang around with her two kids (1 yr older and 6 months younger) in the hope that they would get it, but no avail. Also, my grandmother was immune suppressed (cancer - chemotherapy) and was not worried, because being exposed to chicken pox is not likely to trigger shingles.


With regards Shingles, one of my friends got it when she was in her early 20's too, and another in his 30's. Both were undergoing lots of work stress, so it's not just the elderly that get it, but anyone with low immunity.
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  #31  
Old 24.02.2015, 08:21
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

In the swiss vaccination plan (see link here, especially Tabelle 1, search for VZV, http://www.bag.admin.ch/ekif/04423/04428/index.html), it is clear that vaccination against chicken pox is only done between 11-15 years of age, unless the kid has already had an encounter with the virus first.

That said, the vaccination does not always work! Personal example: My son, 20 months old, got the chicken pox two weeks ago. He was perfectly happy, no scratching, maximum 10 red points. I got it from him, and, even though I had gotten vaccinated as an adult during pre-pregnancy screening, I am covered with disgusting itchy blisters.
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  #32  
Old 24.02.2015, 08:48
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

Whilst the chicken pox vaccine is not on the 'prescribed' list for infants, it can definitely be done with the MMR at 12-18 months with a booster at age 4-5. I work with small children and most of them have it done as their parents just don't want the hassle of catching it...

And likewise, it was not done for my kids in Australia and the first Christmas after we arrived my eldest brought it home on the last day of school and the other two childrne, plus myself, broke out with chicken pox on new year's day. As a non-immune adult, i was delirious and highly unwell for 2-3 days and extremely grumpy for 2-3 days after that, plus had spots everywhere, inside and out... Very very nasty, complicated by the fact that I was travelling and ended up quarantined for 5 days in southern India, luckily in a 5 star hotel with my mum to look after me and the toddler...
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  #33  
Old 24.02.2015, 11:24
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

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Whilst the chicken pox vaccine is not on the 'prescribed' list for infants, it can definitely be done with the MMR at 12-18 months with a booster at age 4-5. I work with small children and most of them have it done as their parents just don't want the hassle of catching it...
I was not aware that it is possible to deviate from the official plan! Our pediatrician has been following the plan and I never asked.

Swisspea, your experience with chicken pox in India sounds really bad. I would not like that happening to me, for sure!
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Old 24.02.2015, 15:40
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

My children didn't have the vaccination as at the time they were young it wasn't available .Two had it in the Uk and then the youngest one got it is Germany which wasn't a surprise.However the other 2 caught a mild dose of it too,which shows me that the vaccination is locally based.We also found that the children who had been vaccinated in the States caught the German version backing up my theory.

I agree with the idea of a vaccine in late teens if the young people haven't had it as shown by the examples posted here,Chickenpox can be very nasty in Adults!
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Old 24.02.2015, 16:07
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

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I was not aware that it is possible to deviate from the official plan! Our pediatrician has been following the plan and I never asked.

Swisspea, your experience with chicken pox in India sounds really bad. I would not like that happening to me, for sure!
You can deviate from the official plan as you want, but it might have an impact on how your insurance pays back the costs.

For instance, basic Lamal coverage doesn't cover the combine MMR + Chicken pox vaccine, only the 'normal' MMR one.
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  #36  
Old 24.02.2015, 16:09
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

The vaccination was not available when my children were born, and when it did become available there were questions about whether it confers life-long immunity, or wears off as little as 5 years later..

The regular exposure to chicken pox 'live' vaccine is what prevents shingles. Shingles happens to someone who had chicken pox as a child (the vast majority of us did) and then later on the immune system is lowered usually due to other illness or high stress, and the virus that was lying dormant becomes active again and the immune system cannot deal with it before you get an outbreak of blisters.

Regular 'natural' exposure to the virus, through the air, triggers the immune system to produce a response, and normally this prevents us from 'catching' (or rather, 'coming down with' it again).

The reason why I got it as an adult was probably a few things :
- I never really got a 'serious' case of it as a child
- I had had three children and my immune system had had a lot of stresses and changes
- we had arrived 6 months previously to Switzerland - after having a baby, moving house twice, and having one of our children diagnosed with a life-long chronic medical condition - so my immune system was probably down anyway
- it was very likely a different 'strain' of the virus to what goes around in Australia.
- I had not been exposed to 'live' chicken pox for about 5 years, as the use of chicken pox vaccines was starting to reduce the prevalence in our local community.
- I was breastfeeding my son who also came down with it.
- bad luck

Our GP in Australia did not recommend the vaccination as it was not proven to have long-term effect, whereas a 'proper' childhood case of chicken pox usually gives life-long immunity...of course, once you have been infected with chicken pox, there is always the possibility of having a shingles outbreak, but I can tell you having the 'proper' chicken pox was pretty nasty...

They do expect, as more and more people are vaccinated for chicken pox, and there are fewer outbreaks of 'live' virus, we will see more shingles in the older generation - because of that effect of 'boosting' the immune system.

My sister, brother, mother, father and husband were also exposed by the kids over that Christmas-new-year period and none of them caught the chicken pox - they had all had 'proper' cases of chicken pox as children, as well as additional exposure to the virus through previous outbreaks - it was only my children and myself that managed to catch it.

Oh, and the other thing is that 'incidental' exposure to chicken pox (someone sneezes on you on the bus, or a kid who is at school with other kids) tends to give a gentler case, than catching it off someone in the household - my daughter who brought it home from school got a pretty mild case, whereas my son and I who managed to catch it from her, being in the same household, got it quite badly...my husband's a teacher, and he was in the class with kids coming down with it, as well as at home from our own kids, and he still didn't catch it at all - his immune system is tough!
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  #37  
Old 24.02.2015, 16:13
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Re: Chicken pox vaccine for infants

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Why? Doesn't anyone remember having that shit as a kid? It's like a burning itching NEED that you don't have the self-control or sense to not scratch into oblivion. I still bear a scar from the scratching. Just because it's not likely to kill you doesn't mean that it's a f-ing funtastic adventure a child will really enjoy either in childhood OR later in life if they develop shingles. Hoo, yeah, I hope those kids who have parents who took them to a pox party to infect them mete out an appropriate revenge when they are older.

What is it with the anti-vaccine attitude of folks these days? You have all the whizzy gadgets up the wazoo but, yet, when it comes to your kids, you give them a Yugo and a cave to live it up with the bone people in term of health care.
I don't think it's necessarily right to link the anti-vaxxer mob (who in my opinion a rightly derided as bunch of child (and adult) endangering loons) with not generally vaccinating against chicken pox.

The chances of a seriously bad reaction to measles is far higher than the chances of seriously bad reaction to the measles vaccine. Since medical opinion is that chicken pox vaccine is not necessary, except for vulnerable members of the population, perhaps it's the case that general vaccination against chicken pox would cause more harm than good?
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