Chickenpox Vaccination Leads To More Shingles

New study UK: Chickepox Vaccine Leads to More Shingles

New modelling research presented at the Health Protection Agency’s annual conference in Warwick confirms that vaccination against chickenpox would significantly decrease the burden of this disease but would lead to more shingles among the elderly.

Researchers also found that vaccinating the elderly against shingles would only partially, but not completely, offset this increase.

Post-vaccination research from countries that routinely immunise their children against chickenpox, including the US, has found an increase in cases of shingles among non-vaccinated age groups.

The Health Protection Agency researchers modelled the impact of vaccinating children against chickenpox (with a two dose schedule) and the elderly (60+) against shingles.

Building on previous modelling data the team incorporated virological, epidemiological and recent data on age-specific contact patterns to see whether a vaccine for the young would impact on the number of shingles in the elderly.

The modelling suggested that a two dose schedule at the levels of coverage likely to be achieved in the UK would lead to an increase of at least 20% of shingles in the medium term (approximately 15-20 years). This increase could be partially, but not completely, offset by introduction of a vaccination against shingles among those aged 60+.

Albert Jan van Hoek, who performed the research for the Health Protection Agency, said; “Our models suggest that vaccination would reduce the burden of chickenpox in the young. However, it will lead to an increase in shingles in the medium term in adults because they will not get that ‘boosting’ effect from being in contact with cases of chickenpox.

“We also looked at whether vaccinating adults against shingles would be of benefit to counteract this. The research showed that a potential increase in shingles could be partly offset by vaccinating the elderly. The success of this, however, depends on uncertain vaccine efficacy parameters, particularly the duration of protection from the zoster virus.

“There are still uncertainties in the research and a lot more work needs to be done examining whether vaccination will be a benefit to all of the population. Also further work needs to be done on the cost effectiveness of any potential chickenpox vaccine before any policy conclusions can be reached.”

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3 Responses

  1. […] Chickenpox Vaccination Leads To More Shingles […]

  2. I concur, great blog.

  3. Great job on getting the truth out there :) It means a lot to so many people.

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