The Chickenpox (Varicella) Virus and It’s Vaccine

Chickenpox (Varicella) – The Virus and It’s Effect

“Shingles and chickenpox were once considered separate disorders. Researchers now know that they are both caused by a single virus of the herpes family, known as varicella-zoster virus (VZV). The word herpes is derived from the Greek word “herpein,” which means “to creep,” a reference to a characteristic pattern of skin eruptions.” – The New York Times, 2008

“If the virus becomes active after being latent, it causes the disorder known as shingle. The virus in this later form is referred to as herpes zoster…Shingles itself can develop only from a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus in a person who has previously had chickenpox.” – The New York Times, 2008

“About 500,000 cases of shingles occur each year in the U.S.” – The New York Times, 2008

Annual U.S. Mortality Rate for Varicella

Less than 20 deaths per year

“Since the early 1990s, the bug has gone from killing 105 a year to causing fewer than 20 annual deaths between 2003 and 2007.” – Reuters, 2011


The Varicella Vaccine

This vaccine has only recently been added to the CDC‘s pediatric recommended schedule since 1995. And already, they’re recommending two doses of it. Acquiring the chickenpox virus naturally gives you immunity for life; yet, the vaccine already requires two separate doses spaced a few years apart. Does it work?

“Before the vaccine, about 4 million people would get chickenpox each year in the United States. Also, about 10,600 people were hospitalized and 100 to 150 died each year as a result of chickenpox.” – CDC, 2011

“The varicella vaccine was licensed for use in the United States in 1995.” – CDC, 2008

“Varicella in vaccinated persons (i.e., breakthrough disease) is a varicella-like rash that occurs more than 42 days after vaccination…breakthrough varicella disease in vaccinated persons has been shown to be contagious.”– CDC, 2008

“Varicella vaccination is less effective than the natural immunity that existed in prevaccine communities. Universal varicella vaccination has not proven to be cost-effective as increased HZ (herpes zoster) morbidity has disproportionately offset cost savings associated with reductions in varicella disease.” – Vaccine, 2013

The CDC admits that vaccinated persons can still get a rash and still be contagious. And according to the above PubMed study, the chickenpox vaccine is less effective than natural immunity. So doing the risk/benefit analysis, getting vaccinated may prevent chickenpox but it might not. What about the documented possible adverse reactions to the vaccine?

Side Effects of the Vaccine

“Severe Side Effects. Only about 5% of adverse reactions are serious. These reactions include seizures, pneumonia, anaphylactic reaction, encephalitis, Stevens-Johnsons syndrome, neuropathy, herpes zoster, and blood abnormalities.” – The New York Times, 2008

“However, recent data indicate that combining varicella and MMR vaccinations into one shot doubles the risk for febrile (fever-related) seizures in children ages 12 – 24 months compared to giving separate MMR and varicella injections.” – The New York Times, 2008

The committee concluded the evidence convincingly supports 14 specific vaccine–adverse event relationships. In all but one of these relationships, the conclusion was based on strong mechanistic evidence with the epidemiologic evidence rated as either limited confidence or insufficient.” Of these “14 specific vaccine-adverse event relationships,” 5 of them are from the chicken pox vaccine, VZV Oka, a Merck strain vaccine.  The symptoms that have been confirmed to be convincingly supportive of causal are “Pneumonia, Meningitis,  Hepatitis, Anaphylaxis, or Encephalitis.” Committee to Review Adverse Effects of Vaccines; Institute of Medicine, TABLE S-2 – Summary of Causality Conclusions, 2011

And the documented side effects of the vaccine consist of seizures, pneumonia, brain inflammation and more? Nearly all adults have had the chickenpox naturally at some point in their youth. In fact, some parents host chickenpox parties giving their children the virus early in life, acquiring natural immunity thereafter so as to not risk the more serious effects the virus in adulthood. To vaccinate against this virus is highly unnecessary, dangerous, and it’s proving to not even be effective.

Additionally, there is health benefits from receiving the wild form of the chicken pox versus being innoculated with the virus in the form of reduction in allergies.

“WTVZV (Wild-type varicella zoster infection) up to 8 yr of age protects against atopic disorders, which is likely mediated by suppression of IgE (Immunoglobulin E levels) production and allergic sensitization, as well as altered leukocyte distributions.” – Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, 2012

Atopic DisordersOf, relating to, or caused by a hereditary predisposition to developing allergic reactions, such as hay fever, asthma, or urticaria, after exposure to specific antigens such as pollen, food, and insect venoms.


Outbreaks Occur in the Vaccinated Population

There are documented outbreaks where the vaccinated children are still getting the chickenpox. These cases are only recently coming to light since the first wave of children being vaccinated against this virus are entering grade school a decade later.

“Five months after 2 siblings were immunized with varicella vaccine, 1 developed zoster. Two weeks later the second sibling got a mild case of chicken pox. Virus isolated from the latter was found to be vaccine type. Thus, the vaccine strain was transmitted from the vaccinee with zoster to his sibling. Vaccinees who later develop zoster must be considered contagious. varicella-zoster, zoster, vaccine, transmission, rash, PstI.” – Journal of Pediatrics, 2000

“A chickenpox outbreak occurred in a school in which 97% of students without a prior history of chickenpox were vaccinated. Students vaccinated >5 years before the outbreak were at risk for breakthrough disease.” – Journal of Pediatrics, 2004

“Although disease was mostly mild, the outbreak lasted for approximately 2 months, suggesting that varicella in vaccinated persons was contagious and that 99% varicella vaccination coverage was not sufficient to prevent the outbreak.” – Journal of Pediatrics, 2006

“A 16-year-old varicella-seronegative resident at a chronic care facility received varicella vaccine; 15 days later he developed severe varicella. Subsequently, a 13-year-old resident and a 39-year-old health care worker developed mild varicella. We demonstrate that vaccine-strain virus was transmitted to both persons, and that transmission included at least 2 variant vaccine strains.” – Journal of Pediatrics, 2006

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