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"Protecting the health and informed consent rights of children since

BLFisher Note:

It was predictable when the live chicken pox vaccine was licensed in
1995 that one dose would not give lifelong protection in the same way
that recovery from chicken pox disease gives lifelong immunity. The
developers of the live chicken pox vaccine, including Anne Gershon, knew
this. It is common knowledge that vaccines only stimulate temporary,
partial immunity and the historical experience with live measles vaccine
is a perfect example. By trading lifelong immunity for temporary,
vaccine-induced immunity, populations become vaccine dependent. Chicken
pox is a relatively benign disease for 99.9 percent of healthy children
but it is much more serious in teenagers and adults. Mandating the use
of chicken pox vaccine and removing the ability for children to get
permanent immunity to chicken pox, puts them at risk as adults. The
winners in this public health strategy are the pharmaceutical companies
producing vaccines requiring purchase of multiple doses. The losers are
the people, who are first put at risk as children for vaccine adverse
events and then again put at risk as adults for a disease that the
vaccine fails to protect against long term.

Chickenpox Vaccine Doesn't Ensure Protection
Wed Dec 11, 5:48 PM ET  Add Health - Reuters to My Yahoo!

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - An outbreak of chickenpox among a group of
children in New Hampshire shows that the virus that causes chickenpox
can be highly infectious even among those who have been vaccinated,
according to a new report.

Dr. Karin Galil of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news
- web sites) in Atlanta, Georgia and colleagues report their findings in
the December 12th issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (news -
web sites).

The researchers evaluated an outbreak of chickenpox, which is caused by
the varicella virus, at a daycare center in New Hampshire. A total of 88
parents returned a questionnaire that aimed to gauge prior chickenpox
illness and vaccination among the children. In all, 25 children came
down with chickenpox between December 2000 and January 2001. The
researchers sourced the outbreak to a 4-year-old child who had been
vaccinated for chickenpox 3 years prior to contracting the illness.

The child infected about half of his classmates who had no prior history
of chickenpox infection. At the time of the outbreak, roughly 73% of
kids old enough for chickenpox vaccine had received it, the report

"The effectiveness of the vaccine was 44% against disease of any
severity and 86% against moderate or severe disease," write Galil and
colleagues. Experts have estimated that the chickenpox vaccine is
between 71% to 100% effective at preventing varicella infection.

Children who had been vaccinated 3 years or more before the outbreak
were at greater risk of vaccination failure than those who had been
vaccinated more recently, they add.

On the surface it appears that immunity against chickenpox weakened as
time passed after vaccination. However, the authors note that "the
reasons for the poor performance of the vaccine are not apparent.

"Although policy cannot be established on the basis of one outbreak, the
findings in this investigation raise concern that the current
vaccination strategy may not protect all children adequately," the
authors write.

Nonetheless, the investigators point out that the illness is much less
of a threat today than it was before the era of chickenpox vaccination,
when there were roughly 11,000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths from the
disease annually.

"Vaccination remains the most effective strategy for protecting children
and adults against illness and death due to varicella," Galil and
colleagues conclude.

Current guidelines call for one dose of chickenpox vaccine for children
between the ages of 1 and 12 years and two doses of vaccine for people
over 13.

"It has long been known...that 'breakthrough' varicella may nevertheless
develop in 10 to 15 percent of vaccinated persons," Dr. Anne A. Gershon
of Columbia University in New York City writes in an accompanying

Gershon suggests that a second dose of chickenpox vaccine "should
decrease the number of children who have...vaccine failure and might
also prevent waning immunity, if it does indeed currently occur."

What's more, Gershon points out that it eventually took the routine
administration of two doses of measles vaccine to control measles in the

"The time for exploring the possibility of routinely administering two
doses of varicella vaccine to children seems to have arrived," Gershon

SOURCE: The New England Journal of Medicine 2002;347:1909-1915,

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