Thursday, March 15, 2007

Chickenpox vaccinations less effective over time

There are a significant number of people who believe that vaccinations are harmful to their children, and even that they might cause autism. These people have a tendency to believe that getting the immunity to the diseases in the old fashioned way (getting sick) is less bad than getting vaccinated against them. This approach has already caused small children to die for childhood diseases that are easily avoidable through vaccinations.

Today, Ny Times bring an article giving another example of why such thinking is dangerous.

Chickenpox Vaccine Loses Effectiveness in Study

The chickenpox vaccine Varivax has changed the profile of the disease in the population, researchers are reporting.

In a study appearing Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers confirm what doctors have already known — that the vaccine has sharply reduced the number of cases in children but that its protection does not last long.

With fewer natural cases of the disease, the study says, unvaccinated children or those whose first dose of the vaccine fails to work are getting chickenpox later in life, when the risk of complications is higher.

“If you’re unvaccinated and you get it later in life, there’s a 20-times greater risk of dying compared to a child, and a 10- to 15-times greater chance of getting hospitalized,” said Dr. Jane Seward of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, who worked on the study.

To the people who are against vaccinations, the logical solution would be to stop vaccinating children, so the get it as children. This is not the right way of solving this. The 20-times greater risk of dying as an adult happens to a significantly smaller group of people - remvoing the vaccination for all, would increase the number of deaths. And even if the disease doesn't result in death, there are other bad results.

The chickenpox virus remains in the body for life and can be reactivated as shingles, a painful rash.

No, the correct way of dealing with this, is to vaccinate more people, and boost the vaccinations later in life as necessary.

The study can be found here for people who has access to The New England Journal of Medicine (which I don't have)



Blogger Kaethe said...

Your point about boosters is well taken. One thing I'm noticing in the vaccine-deniers is this idea that we haven't studied the long term (side)effects of vaccines, and that therefore they should be avoided. There seems to be a fundamental confusion about the nature of a vaccine and the nature of a medicine.

I have access. Is there anything in particular you'd like to know?

March 15, 2007 2:08 PM  
Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

Well, basicly it seems like the NY Times article is consistent with the abstract, but in general I like to look at the original source to see if the news article is presenting the results accurately.

In this case, the results seem so straight-forward, that I do think there is any possibility of misunderstanding it.

March 15, 2007 2:11 PM  
Blogger ERV said...

I really love how anti-vaxers only seem to care about the PR of childhood vaccines. I mean did you see Oracs post on 'Vaccines cause shaken baby syndrome'? Blech!

Where are the message boards dedicated to 'debunking' college-aged meningitis vaccines? Where are the exposes of Hep B vaccines causing shaken-baby syndrome in 30 year old men?

... On second thought, dont answer that, I dont want to know... LOL!

March 17, 2007 12:40 AM  

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