Chickenpox vaccine recommended for children

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended a chickenpox vaccine be added to the UK’s routine childhood immunisation programme.

The committee would be offered to all children in 2 doses, at 12 and 18 months of age.

The JCVI has submitted its recommendations to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), which will take a final decision on whether to implement a programme.

The committee has also recommended a temporary catch-up programme for older children.

Other countries, including Germany, Canada, Australia and the United States already have a chickenpox vaccination programme and have seen decreases in the number of cases and hospitalisations.

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, Chair of the JCVI, said: "Chickenpox is well known, and most parents will probably consider it a common and mild illness among children. But for some babies, young children and even adults, chickenpox or its complications can be very serious, resulting in hospitalisation and even death.

"Adding the varicella vaccine to the childhood immunisation programme will dramatically reduce the number of chickenpox cases in the community, leading to far fewer of those tragic, more serious cases.

"We now have decades of evidence from the USA and other countries showing that introducing this programme is safe, effective and will have a really positive impact on the health of young children."


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