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Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine: This Is Why a Shingles Epidemic Is Bolting Straight at the U.S.

Story at-a-glance -

  • Before the chickenpox vaccine was licensed in the US in 1995, children acquired natural immunity to the illness by age six. While it is contagious, chickenpox is a mild disease without any long-term or fatal complications.
  • Normally, when you recover from chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in your nerve roots for many years, unless triggered by physical or emotional stress. When the virus is awakened, it surfaces as shingles, a painful illness marked with a blister-like rash on one side of the body.
  • The chickenpox vaccine only provides temporary immunity, unlike the long-lasting immunity you get from getting the condition. At the same time, there are reports of serious reactions, injuries, and deaths from the mass use of the vaccine.
  • Voluntary health choices are important in preventing vaccine issues. Help raise public awareness by arming yourself with vaccine information.

Diane Murphy, MD, is the Director of the FDA's Office of Pediatric Therapeutics (OPT). The mission of OPT is to enforce a Congressional mandate that assures access for children to innovative, safe, and effective medical products.

Historically, many medical products have not been tested for use in children, leading to an increase in adverse events and the use of ineffective products.

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