Vaccine drastically reduces deaths from chickenpox

August 1, 2011

The significant decrease in the death rate from the varicella virus, or chickenpox, can be attributed to the effectiveness of the chickenpox vaccine, according to a new study in a recent issue of Pediatrics.

The significant decrease in the death rate from the varicella virus, or chickenpox, can be attributed to the effectiveness of the chickenpox vaccine, according to a new study in a recent issue of Pediatrics.

Researchers with the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, an agency of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), concluded that the current 2-dose vaccination program could eliminate future fatalities from chickenpox. A second dose of varicella vaccine has been routinely recommended in the United States since 2006.

“Studies have indicated that a second dose among children produces an improved humoral and cellular immune response that correlates with improved protection against disease,” the researchers wrote.

For the Pediatrics study, researchers reviewed the mortality rates provided by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics for the years 1990 through 2007 and examined trends identified since the prevaccine years. During the 12 years of the mostly 1-dose vaccination program, the annual average mortality rate for chickenpox declined 88%, from 0.41 per million population from 1990 through 1994 to .05 per million population from 2005 to 2007.

“The impressive decline in varicella deaths can be directly attributed to successful implementation of the 1-dose vaccination program,” the researchers wrote.