Varicella cases increased 16% after withdrawal of the vaccine
After almost three years of absence of the varicella vaccine from pharmacies, from the 1st of February the varicella vaccine is already available again in all pharmacies of all the CC AA, as authorized by the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Health Products.
After being introduced last June in the official vaccination calendar by the Ministry of Health, all those children who since 2013 have not been able to get vaccinated against this viral disease that can be prevented, will have access to the vaccine again. Although it is a benign virus, varicella can lead to complications, most occur in healthy children and it is estimated that up to 5% of hospitalizations due to varicella can cause death.
Consequences of the disappearance of the varicella vaccine
The absence of varicella vaccine in pharmacies for almost three years has meant a increase in chickenpox cases by 16 percent during this time.
Dr. Federico Martinón, pediatrician and clinical researcher at the Hospital Clínico Universitario de Santiago has ensured that "a universal vaccination program with two doses that has shown a rapid reduction in the incidence of varicella cases of any severity thus showing a effectiveness of more than 98%. In fact, children who comply with Two doses of the vaccine are 95% less likely to suffer chickenpox, in front of the children who received a single dose ".
Chickenpox in figures
- More than 200,000 cases a year in Spain before the commercialization of varicella vaccines in our country (1996-2006).
- Up to 5% of hospitalizations because of chickenpox can cause death.
- Lcomplications and hospitalizations and deaths from varicella-related causes are more frequent in healthy children.
In addition, countries that have implemented universal vaccination against varicella in infants show a decrease in hospitalization rates and costs. For example, in Italy hospitalizations for chicken pox were reduced by almost 75%.
Varicella vaccine survey
The Community blogger Madresfera has reflected, through a survey conducted by Sanofi Pasteur MSD, the main concerns of parents, among which are the supply of vaccine, access to it, the recommended age of vaccination and the provision in its Autonomous Community. 150 families with children between 0 and 15 years old from Spain participated in the survey.
The vaccine against the varicella virus is one of the most worries and doubts generated among the parents.64% of the respondents have expressed a clear concern about the chickenpox vaccine, and 45% lack of knowledge about whether their child is properly vaccinated, por they have not been able to complete the second dose.
Also, among the main concerns expressed include the supply of the vaccine, access to it, the recommended age of vaccination and disposition in its Autonomous Community, as well as knowing if it will be financed by Social Security.
During the time that the varicella vaccine has been outside the pharmacy channel, the 41% of the families interviewed sought it out in private hospitals, 27% traveled to pharmacies in other Autonomous Regions, 9.5% went to other countries such as Portugal, and 6.8% said they had purchased it online.
Varicella vaccine returns
Dr. Federico Martinón, pediatrician and clinical researcher at the University Clinical Hospital of Santiago, notes that "the universal vaccination against varicella of all Spanish infants is excellent news and an important advance in global health for Spain, a disease less than the one worry from now on, and an important source of health savings ".
Since, in 2013, it was decided that the vaccine was only for hospital use, there are many voices that have been raised to make it accessible to everyone in the pharmacy channel; from parents to associations and scientific community. "Currently, as announced by the Ministry of Health, Social Affairs and Equality last summer, the varicella vaccine is included in the vaccination schedule as a routine vaccine, for children between 12 and 15 months, at risk and older groups 12 years who have not suffered from the disease, but all those families who want to acquire it to vaccinate their children who are above that age, may do so at any pharmacy office in Spain for 45.38 € / dose ", added Dr. María Garcés-Sánchez, pediatrician and member of the Vaccine Research Area of the Center for Public Health Research (CSISP) of Valencia.
Some communities, even, will recover children who have been left unvaccinated during the years that the vaccine has been outside the pharmacies, such as Madrid and Castilla y León, while others will recapture those children who have been vaccinated. remained without the second dose, such as Andalusia, Castilla and La Mancha, Cantabria and La Rioja.
Marisol Nuevo Espín