8 days ago, I thought Hudson was going through puberty at 3 years old. He had a pimple on his lip. A bit young for pimples, but thought it was just preparing us for the awkward teenage stage ahead.
But then 7 days ago, a lot more pimples were popping up. And then it clicked during a playgroup, my precious boy had chickenpox. I quickly rushed out of the playgroup as I knew mums would start to “tusk” at me if they thought I was knowingly infecting their children.
We stayed in the house for 7 days until they were all scabbed over. Despite freaking out at the possibility of having cabin fever and seeing no one, it was a great week being outside and in the house with just the two boys (and my friend that WANTS her little boy to get the pox).
But it did get me wondering. As kids growing up in the States, my sister and I were vaccinated for chickenpox, along with all of our other vaccinations. Granted, we did have a mild case of chickenpox, but nothing horrific – not like some of the stories I have heard from parents here in the UK, where chicken pox is not vaccinated for.
The vaccination that is administered in the States is the varicella vaccine. It is administered around 12 months of age, along with the MMR vaccine. Up to 5% of children will contract a very mild case of chickenpox and suffer with a minor fever after having the vaccination.
So why does the NHS not universally vaccinate for this primarily childhood illness that causes so much grief?
I have separated a few of the arguments out below. They aren’t extensive. And I am no doctor. But I would love to hear your thoughts if you have any responses based on the following.
-Children are less likely to contract the illness. If they do contract it, it is very mild. It may just be a pesty illness for some, but for some chicken pox causes immense irritation. By giving the vaccine, you make kid’s life easier.
-Less time off school for the child. If children have to be out of school for up to 3 weeks until the chicken pox clears, they could miss quite a bit of teaching and social interaction.
-Parents don’t have to take off of work. I am only working one day a week at the moment, so luckily I didn’t have a problem staying off with Huck (this is one of the reasons I love being at home with them). But for parents that are working, sorting childcare is virtually impossible. So parents have to take off work, which could negatively impact their pay and effectiveness as employees.
-Less serious cases developing. Since Hudson had chickenpox, I have read too many articles about the dangers associated with having chickenpox. Sepsis being the scariest to me. If the child with chickenpox itches until there is an open wound, there is chance of bacterial infection that can quickly spread to the rest of the body. Lethal.
-This is slightly dramatic, but if a pregnant woman is exposed to chicken pox, her unborn baby could suffer deformities.
NOT TO vaccinate:
-We are administering yet another vaccination. For those that are already hesitant to administer vaccinations, this could be seen as another dangerous vaccination that could have harmful side affects. I am not EVER going to get in debates about the MMR vaccinations. People get heated about their opinions and I am so unwilling to arge about it. It is the opinion of some that too many vaccinations are a bad thing and therefore, we shouldn’t have them.
-Money. It costs a lot of money to vaccinate every child for chickenpox. And in the UK, professionals seem to think that the cost of vaccinating for chickenpox young is not cost effective as it will lead to Shingles in adults later (which is more expensive to treat).
-Which leads to the biggest case to NOT vaccinate. A BBC news article stated, “The theory is that once a person has had chickenpox, every time they come into contact with an infected youngster their body’s defense system receives the equivalent of a booster jab, building up resistance against the disease. If children no longer harboured the disease, a rise in shingles could in principle follow.” The thing is, following this quote, they added that there isn’t compelling evidence from countries using the vaccine that vaccinating leads to increased cases of Shingles.
I’m no expert, but there are a lot more reasons TO vaccinate than not. The UK does offer vaccinations for a price, but I’m too late to vaccinate Hudson and I’m not going to push the vaccination for Isaiah. But defo something for the NHS to continue debating.
Thoughts on this curious thought?