29 Jun 2022

Chickenpox vaccination could be added to childhood immunisation schedule

Chickenpox vaccination could be added to childhood immunisation schedule

The addition of the chickenpox vaccine to the childhood immunisation schedule is being considered by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

HIQA is to publish an assessment of such a move on the request of the Department of Health, supported by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC).

It will examine the clinical effectiveness, cost effectiveness, budget impact, ethical and social aspects of expanding the childhood vaccination schedule to include the chickenpox vaccine.

The vaccine inoculates against the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox and shingles. Chickenpox is a common infectious disease which mainly affects children.

Shingles typically occurs later in life due to reactivation of the virus.

One case of chickenpox can potentially infect 10 to 12 people.

In a press statement, Dr Conor Teljeur, HIQA’s Chief Scientist said: “A vaccine for chickenpox was first developed almost 50 years ago. Over the last 30 years, a growing number of countries around the world have added the chickenpox vaccine to their routine childhood immunisation schedules.

“In Ireland, the vaccine is currently recommended for non-immune individuals in certain risk groups. Our assessment will examine the impact of adding the vaccine to the childhood immunisation schedule.”

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