- UK considers varicella vaccine.
- JCVI recommends childhood immunization.
- Concerns shift, global practices influence.
Although other nations have administered the varicella vaccine for decades, the National Health Service (NHS) has consistently expressed concern that its introduction in the United Kingdom could heighten the incidence of chickenpox and shingles among adults.
Vaccination Schedule Recommendations
According to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), children should receive the vaccine in two doses at 12 and 18 months of age.
International studies suggest the varicella injection, or vaccination, can prevent most severe instances of chickenpox in children and significantly lower its prevalence.
Catch-up Programme for Older Pupils
Health departments in the United Kingdom are also advised by the JCVI to incorporate a temporary catch-up programme for older pupils.
“However, certain infants, young children, and even adults may be fatally ill with chickenpox or its complications, which may necessitate hospitalisation.”
Incorporating the varicella vaccine into the childhood immunisation programme will result in a substantial decline in the incidence of chickenpox within the community, thereby substantially reducing the occurrence of the more severe and catastrophic strains.
He further stated, “Decades of evidence from the United States and other nations demonstrate that implementing this programme is risk-free, efficacious, and will significantly improve the health of young children.”
DHSC, or the Department of Health and Social Care, will examine the recommendation at this time.
Other nations, including Australia and the United States, have administered the varicella vaccine for many years. But the National Health Service (NHS) has always expressed concern that its introduction in the United Kingdom could increase the risk of chickenpox and shingles in adults.
It was stated that the implementation of a childhood varicella vaccination programme would prevent individuals from contracting the virus during their childhood, thereby preventing unvaccinated children from developing the disease as adults, when symptoms can become significantly more severe.
However, current thinking regarding the vaccine has shifted.