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Chickenpox Shots Can Help Kids Avoid Shingles

RM Shingles

Shingles isn’t a condition that kids generally have to worry about; however, they can get it, and it can be quite painful. Thankfully, a new study reveals that the chickenpox vaccine can help to shield children against this terrible disease.

While it is uncommon in kids, the chickenpox virus can result in shingles too. The research team aimed to see the shingles rates among children who have received the chickenpox shot. 

What the study team discovered was that those children who received the chickenpox vaccine had a 78 percent decreased risk around shingles. In fact, the overall shingles rate dove for both unvaccinated and vaccinated children by 72 percent from the time period of 2003 to 2014. The team stated that this large drop was a reflection of the virus circulating less among the general public. 

These figures make it that more crystal clear that children should get the chickenpox shot; to not only help avoid said illness, but shingles as well.

Referred to as varicella, as varicella zoster is the name of the virus that causes chickenpox, the shot was first introduced to the U.S. back in 1996, when a dose was recommended for toddlers aged 12 to 18 months. As of 2007, a vaccine at 4 and 6 years of age has also been encouraged.

Meanwhile, Web MD reported that shingles, sometimes referred to as herpes zoster, tends to occur in adults aged 60 and over, and develops in those individuals who had the chickenpox infection as children. This is due to the immune system getting “more tired” as a person ages.

For the study, the research team gathered health record from over six million kids, aged one to 17. Over 14,300 individuals ended up getting shingles during the study that lasted for about 12 years. Overall, approximately half of the group had gotten the chickenpox shot, and according to the study, in 2003, the rate of the vaccination varied between 27 to 52 percent. By the time 2014 hit, it rose in numbers, at an 82 to 91 percent rate.

Having said this, the team relayed the length of time the shot has around protection from shingles is not clear; however, during the study period’s length of time, the cases around shingles decreased, offering a hopeful sign. 

Still, the researchers did stress it is too soon to truly know.