Chickenpox is one of the most common diseases that children face yet it is preventable with the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. In the United States it was found that one child dies every week from the chickenpox. Chickenpox symptoms are highly identifiable by the skin rash that produces red itchy blisters/bumps that become scabs along the skin of children. This disease on its own is uncomfortable but it can also lead to even more serious complications such as brain damage and pneumonia.
An article released just last week on October 29, 2013 described a study that found that children were four times more likely to have a stroke following the chickenpox infection. Another study found that 31% of children who had a stroke also had chickenpox before. In the artery walls of the brain, the chickenpox virus can replicate leading to the artery becoming inflamed/damaged. This effect can cause the artery to be blocked which leads to a stroke. Dr. Warran Lo, a neurologist at Nationwide’s Children Hospital in Columbus Ohio stated; “The study illustrates that immunization against varicella is important to reduce the risk of complications from chickenpox.” Dr. Otto Ramos, director of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Division at Miami Children’s Hospital agrees that immunizations against chickenpox are successful and should be used to prevent further children from developing more serious diseases. Their statements are supported by research which found that after the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine in 1996, the number of children that developed chickenpox in the United States declined by 80%.
Currently the federal government does not require parents to vaccinate their children, they provide recommendations and leave it up to the state governments to enforce and require certain vaccinations. However there are too many exemptions due to personal reasons (including not having your child vaccinated because he/she is homeschooled and you don’t believe they need the vaccination) that prevent numerous children from being vaccinated. This is not safe, a child who is not vaccinated can spread that disease to numerous other children. Parents who exempt their children from vaccinations, specifically the chickenpox vaccine, are choosing to not only risk their child’s life but also are choosing to risk other people’s lives. This should not be acceptable and that is why vaccinations need to be a federally run program that has standards which are more highly regulated and harder to be exempt from. This would in return prevent more children from getting chickenpox.