Widespread use of the varicella vaccine has helped to reduce the number of deaths due to chickenpox, as per the report given by the CDC in, Pediatrics. Since 1995, when the chickenpox immunization began, deaths due to chicken pox has dropped by an impressive 88% overall. The percentage drop in the death due to chickenpox among children and adults were 97%. Before the introduction of this vaccination, chickenpox was responsible for almost 100 deaths and 11,000 hospitalizations every year.
The reduction in the number of deaths can be attributed to the implementation of 1-dose vaccination program for chickenpox, say study researcher Mona Marin, MD, of the CDC, and colleagues. The national vaccination recommendations added a second dose to the existing one when children were between 4-years-old and 6-years-old. The first dose is given between 12-months-old and 18-months old.
Varicella vaccine is also available as a combination vaccine with other vaccines that offer protection against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella, known as the MMRV. Chicken pox can be life-threatening in some cases like those with weakened immune system such as infants and elderly.
In this study, the researchers analyzed the national data from 2002 to 2007 in which varicella was the reason for the death. Since its inception, the first six years of vaccination showed a 66% drop in the deaths due to chickenpox. Since this period vaccination coverage has been increased considerably. During the 12 years of one-dose vaccination, there was 88% reduction in the number of deaths due to chickenpox. This decline was more among children (97%) and adults under the age of 50-years-old (96%). The reduction in the number of deaths is higher than previously estimated.