Chickenpox vaccine reduces deaths

Deaths related to varicella (chicken pox) have dropped 88% in the 12 years since the vaccine became standard for kids, according to findings were published in the journal Pediatrics. Though deaths from the disease are rare, in some cases it can lead to bacterial infections, brain swelling or pneumonia, notes Reuters.

Prior to mandatory vaccination, there were 0.41 chickenpox-related deaths per million; that number dropped to just 0.05 deaths per million by the mid-2000s. In 2006 the CDC recommended that children receive two shots before the age of 6 rather than just one on research that showed the double dose was more effective at preventing the disease.

"Our analysis documents the impressive impact on varicella mortality of the U.S. vaccination program, largely during a period when only one dose was administered," the researchers noted, as quoted by Reuters. "With the current two-dose program, there is potential that these most severe outcomes of a vaccine-preventable disease could be eliminated."

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