Chickenpox vaccine

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El Pollo Diablo
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Chickenpox vaccine

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Sun Feb 23, 2020 9:37 am

No one in my family remembers me having chickenpox as a child, and so I'd like to get vaccinated, largely because (a) I am thinking of having kids in the next two years and so will eventually be at risk, and (b) I ain't having that sh.t if I don't have to.

I don't think I qualify for it on the NHS, so I can get it for £130 for two goes at boots. Dr Internet seems to suggest that it should provide pretty good immunity from chickenpox, and that it also provides some protection from shingles as well, at least in children. But long term studies haven't been performed because it hasn't been around that long yet.

There's a separate shingles vaccine also, but I'm just curious as to the ins and outs of getting it, studies, etc., and in particular the connection between chickenpox and shingles (which are caused by the same virus) and what getting the CP vaccine does to my risk of getting shingles. Dr Internet suggests it lowers it.
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minusnine
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Re: Chickenpox vaccine

Post by minusnine » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:21 pm

I only seem to have anything to say on here if it relates to an ague I’ve recently suffered, but re your last point about the cp vaccine making getting shingles less likely, shingles is a reactivation of dormant herpes zoster in the body, so you can only have it if you’ve previously had chicken pox (or, I presume, the cp vaccine). So having the cp vaccine would make it possible for you to have shingles in the future, whereas if you’ve never had cp you can’t get shingles.

As you suggest, cp in adults is much more serious than in kids (and is the reason we got our kids vaccinated when the eldest reached puberty without either of them having had cp).

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JQH
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Re: Chickenpox vaccine

Post by JQH » Mon Feb 24, 2020 1:06 pm

Chicken pox can be petty bad in kids too. I had an all over body rash and the scars lasted for best part of a year.
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cvb
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Re: Chickenpox vaccine

Post by cvb » Mon Feb 24, 2020 1:15 pm

JQH wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 1:06 pm
Chicken pox can be petty bad in kids too. I had an all over body rash and the scars lasted for best part of a year.
The scars can be permanent.

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sTeamTraen
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Re: Chickenpox vaccine

Post by sTeamTraen » Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:43 pm

I would vote for getting the jab. I caught chickenpox at age 30, when our kids were 2 and 24 months old. They basically laughed it off, and I had two weeks in bed unable to get further than the loo. It was awful. And if your kids bring it home, you *will* catch it.

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Gentleman Jim
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Re: Chickenpox vaccine

Post by Gentleman Jim » Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:05 am

I vote for the jab too - esp as it lowers the incidence of shingles.
As a recurrent sufferer, I know what a pain that is
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minusnine
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Re: Chickenpox vaccine

Post by minusnine » Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:56 am

It simply isn't true that the chicken pox vaccine reduces your chances of getting shingles (see here for e.g. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinati ... s-answers/) - where does this notion come from?

If epd has never had chicken pox he can't get shingles, while having the cp vaccine will mean he has exposure to the virus which may reactivate in the future and cause shingles.

In fact it's possible that my recent bout of shingles was made more likely by the fact that my kids were vaccinated rather than catching chicken pox, according to that link.

I'm still in favour of the cp vaccine if you are an adult who hasn't had it, as while it can be serious in kids and leave permanent scars it is likely to be worse in adults.

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rockdoctor
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Re: Chickenpox vaccine

Post by rockdoctor » Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:31 pm

After two pals had horrible experiences of shingles I looked into the vaccine.
If you are in the (narrowly defined) at-risk group, the NHS will give you the old shingles vaccine, called Zostavax, which uses live attenuated virus. It is only about 60% effective. It costs about £165 for the single required injection.
There is also a new improved vaccine, called Shingrix, given as two injections and costing over £500. It uses non-live virus and is over 95% effective.
After I decided the better one was probably worth the money, I discovered that it was pretty much unavailable in the UK at the moment (worldwide shortages due to demand), so at that point I gave up looking and decided to wait.

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Re: Chickenpox vaccine

Post by mikeh » Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:33 pm

minusnine wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:56 am
If epd has never had chicken pox he can't get shingles, while having the cp vaccine will mean he has exposure to the virus which may reactivate in the future and cause shingles.
epd may well have been exposed to chicken pox as a kid, but had very mild symptoms, or been asymptomatic which is unusual but does happen occasionally (as was observed in astronauts, if epd ever fancies upgrading his train to a rocket)

Also he will, if all goes well with his stated plans, be surrounded by his own and other people's offspring, all of whom will be coughing in his face day in, day out, and on some of those days, there will be Varicella. He'll very likely be exposed in the coming years.

On that basis, if the thought of chicken-pox-as-an-adult is akin to a day's boating out on a Nigel-Farage barge, then I'd suggest getting the jab, subject to a visit to, and discussions with his local healthcare provider.

Chickenpox vaccine does appear to reduce risk of shingles in children (uncommon, but shingles does happen in children) for some period of time, but arguments around how long for, some models say 2 years, some say 20.

We know from US data that the chicken pox vaccine retains its effectiveness against chicken pox for the 20 years it's been measured so far.

So plausible that the individuals who are vaccinated against chicken pox will retain some protection against shingles. But see above caveat.

When a chicken pox vaccine is introduced into a population, shingles cases in the unvaccinated economically active groups tend to go up. But, overall there is a net public health benefit when all swings and roundabouts have been considered.

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Re: Chickenpox vaccine

Post by raven » Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:33 pm

Well this is a very interesting thread. I didn't know that exposure to chickenpox through your kids getting it helps ward off shingles. Good to know.

While I'm here, anybody know if there's data out there on what happens if you've had chickenpox and then get vaccinated?

From my n=1 sample, it would seem not a lot but I always wondered --- Son#2 had cp as a toddler, but because he got it off his brother and we knew what it was the GP didn't see him. Then when we moved to the US, the GP refused to confirm he'd had it so that meant he had to have the jab or he wouldn't be allowed in school. (Poor kid had to have 4 extra shots at once. Didn't flinch though.)

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