chickenpox vaccine

We now have a safe and effective vaccine for chickenpox. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends the varicella vaccination (Varivax® - Merck) for all children, starting at age 12 months. Up to 13 years old, the child receives one shot at a year and a booster at age five; after age 13 two shots one to two months apart are given. The vaccine has proven to be very safe - only 1 in 100,000 children had any significant reaction associated with the immunization.

Objections to the chickenpox vaccine I hear:

"The immunity will not be lifelong." This is probably true, at least for a significant portion of the population. For that reason, and because some shots just don't "take" properly, we now give the booster at age 5.
"Will recipients of the vaccine have a higher incidence of shingles?" The experience with the vaccine has been a vastly lower incidence of shingles - the risk of shingles is only about 1% of the rate for kids who have the natural disease
"I am afraid I am not immune (or Aunt Sally is not immune...). I am afraid I will catch chickenpox from my child if he has the shot." Infectivity from children who receive the shot is apparently very low. Which would you rather face? Exposure to your child after a shot which might at worst produce 20-50 sores and would not involve significant respiratory transmission risk - or exposure to a full blown case of wild type chickenpox virus in your home (probablility of getting the disease 95%)

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