Since the introduction of the chicken pox vaccine in Australia, the number of children being hospitalized or dying from the disease has fallen dramatically, according to research performed by scientists at the University of Adelaide and the Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) project.
Before introduction of the vaccine, 1500 children were hospitalized with varicella each year in Australia. Researchers found that since the varicella vaccine was introduced in 2006, the number of coded hospitalizations with varicella dropped by 68% during the period 2007-2010. The study also showed that of all the children age-eligible for the vaccine that needed hospitalization, 80% were unimmunized.
“These results are a very strong endorsement of the impact of chicken pox vaccine being available for children through the national childhood immunization program, and of the need to immunize all children against chicken pox,” said lead author Associate Professor Helen Marshall, from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Institute and Director of the Vaccinology and Immunology Research Trials Unit at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide.
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