Chickenpox is one of those illnesses that we all wait for with anticipation. We all expect it, without ever quite knowing when it will hit. Jen and I have had the discussion many times, whether or not to get Teddy vaccinated against it or not. He’s now finishing his first year at pre-school and, touch wood, hasn’t had it yet. But now we might have a new option for getting him protected against it.
However, today, Superdrug become the first high street retailer to offer the vaccination, meaning it’s just become much easier to protect our children from this illness.
Chickenpox is caused by a highly contagious virus (called Varicella Zoster) normally caught during childhood. The chickenpox vaccination is not part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule in the UK, and is currently only available on the NHS for those who are at high risk of spreading the virus to particularly vulnerable people such as those with weakened immune systems, or non-immune healthcare workers. To be honest, I’ve never understood why this vaccine isn’t available as part of the other routine vaccinations our children have; I’m assuming it comes down to costs.
To be honest, I’ve never understood why this vaccine isn’t available as part of the other routine vaccinations our children have; I’m assuming it comes down to costs.
Dr. Pixie, Superdrug’s Health and Wellbeing Ambassador, commented,
“Chickenpox is often seen as a rite of passage in childhood resulting in anything from a very mild to a more serious infection in different people. Even in straightforward cases spot picking can lead to long term scarring which can linger long after the infection is gone. A chickenpox immunisation has been available for many years but not on the high street until now. Having suffered from severe chicken pox at the age of 19 I would far rather have undergone the vaccine than be struck down with the infection!”
Although not harmful to most of those who catch it, chickenpox can be unpleasant as it also carries symptoms such as an itchy red rash of spots and blisters and a fever. Other symptoms could include tiredness, nausea, headache, muscle ache and loss of appetite. In most cases, the symptoms tend to subside after one week.
Chickenpox can become dangerous if caught by patients with an impaired immune system, newborn babies, and pregnant women. Once you have chickenpox, you should be immune to it for life, however, one in three who have had chickenpox will go on to develop shingles later in life. I was one of those who had shingles as a teenager – not pleasant!
The vaccination is available at £65 per dose, and two doses – four to eight weeks apart – are recommended to give heightened immune protection.
Available in 58 of its nurse and pharmacist Health Clinic stores, the addition of the vaccination service to Superdrug’s in-store healthcare services continues to highlight the increasing accessibility of healthcare on the high street.
Vaccinating your baby is a heated debate usually with parents generally having a strong view on either side of the debate – now a chickenpox vaccine is readily available, will you be using this service?
More info about the Chickenpox vaccine
The chickenpox vaccine offers effective protection against chickenpox.Chickenpox is
Chickenpox is linked to a group of vaccines referred to as “live” vaccines meaning that it contains a weakened version of the virus that causes chickenpox. For healthy people this causes your immune system to react to the vaccine resulting in you being protected against chickenpox if you are exposed to the virus at a later date.
You need two doses to be protected and the second dose should be given at least four but no later than eight weeks after you have received your initial dose.
If you have been exposed to the chickenpox virus the vaccine may still prevent symptoms if you get vaccinated within three days of exposure.
It does not protect against similar viruses, such as the herpes virus. It also doesn’t protect against shingles. However, there is also a shingles vaccination service available at Superdrug Health Clinics that can help to protect you against this condition.