The British government’s expert scientific committee suggested, for the first time on Tuesday, that children should receive the chickenpox vaccine. This recommendation comes decades after the vaccine has been widely accessible in other countries such as the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
In the United Kingdom, individuals wishing to receive immunization against the illness must pay approximately £150 (equivalent to US $184).
According to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation in Britain, children aged 1-18 months should receive two doses of a combined vaccine for protection against measles, mumps, and rubella.
According to Andrew Pollard, the head of the expert vaccine panel, chickenpox or its consequences can have serious consequences for babies, young children, and even adults, potentially leading to hospitalization or death.
According to Pollard, there is a wealth of evidence spanning many years from various countries that proves the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. The United States was the initial country to implement a vaccination program for chickenpox in 1995.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of chickenpox cases in the country is considered to be low, with an estimated annual occurrence of less than 150,000 cases and 30 deaths.
Previously, British experts estimated that there are over 650,000 cases of chickenpox in England and Wales.
There is a contagious illness known as chickenpox that primarily impacts children and can result in a rash, blisters, and fever. The symptoms typically persist for approximately seven days, but in uncommon situations, the virus can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis, or fatality. Receiving two doses of the vaccine provides over 90% defense against this disease.
The government will review the recommendation for the chickenpox vaccine next.
The National Health Service of Britain has expressed concerns about the potential risk of shingles in adults who have not been vaccinated against chickenpox, especially if they contract the virus as adults, which can be more severe than chickenpox.
However, experts have pointed out that the British government provides the shingles vaccine to adults who are at risk of developing the disease.
Gayatri Amirthalingam, MD, the deputy director of public health programs at the Health Security Agency in Britain, believes that the updated chickenpox vaccine guidelines will eliminate the issue of chickenpox in the future.