The US was the first country to begin universal vaccination of children against varicella.
Cases of chickenpox in the United States have decreased by 97% since 1995, according to research presented at IDWeek 2022, held October 19-23 in Washington, D.C.1 The United States was the first country to begin universal vaccination of children against varicella.
Among those aged younger than 20, hospitalizations and deaths decreased by 97% and 99%, respectively, compared with the era before routine vaccination.
“For chickenpox to go from being an inevitability of childhood to being rarely seen in just 1 generation is truly remarkable,” said Mona Marin, MD, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, in a press release. “The significance of the vaccine program—in lives saved, in sickness and hospitalizations avoided, and in prevention of disruption to schools and family life—cannot be overstated.”
Because of the high rates of vaccination among children, rates and transmission of chickenpox have also decreased in the general population, protecting those who are immunocompromised, pregnant, or too young to be vaccinated.
The chickenpox vaccine, Marin added, “is a testament to the transformative power of public health.”