Immunity And The New Vaccine
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to get chickenpox a second time. If a person had a mild case during childhood, his or her immunity to the virus may be weaker than that of someone who had a severe childhood case. In order to prevent chickenpox, especially in already-ill children and immunocompromised patients, researchers have devised a VZV vaccine, consisting of live, attenuated (modified) VZV. Immunization recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics state that children between 12 and 18 months of age who have not yet had chickenpox should receive the vaccine. Immunization can be accomplished with a single dose. Children up to the age of 13 who have had neither chickenpox nor the immunization, should also receive a single dose of the vaccine. Children older than age 13 who have never had either chickenpox or the vaccine should be immunized with two separate doses, given about a month apart. The vaccine provokes strong immunity against the virus. Although some side effects have been noted, including a mild rash and the reactivation of shingles, the vaccine is considered safe and effective.
See also Childhood diseases.
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