What’s the Big Deal About Chicken Pox?

My last blog post, a rebuttal to the ‘Growing Up Unvaccinated’ article that was making it’s rounds, has been viewed almost 11,000 times! The views on that post has trumped any of my other posts and no doubt any of my future posts. I think that this blog will be making some changes, since people obviously are more interested in the topic of vaccines than healthy orange coconut pancakes! I promised to elaborate on individual vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases so here I am, a little late but I am a woman of my word.

I am going to start with the Varicella, or chicken pox, vaccine. Mostly because it’s an easy one as it is new and we all have memories of what the chicken pox actually is. When I first heard that a chicken pox vaccine was on the market I thought that it was an absolutely ludicrous idea and that no one would actually buy into it. We all had the chicken pox as kids, it was almost a rite of passage. Some kids had it worse but generally everyone got it, missed a week of school, and were fine. So the question is, why was the chicken pox all of a sudden a risky childhood illness that required a vaccination? Unlike the whooping cough and tuberculosis that killed thousands of children per year, the chicken pox is very much a harmless illness in comparison. Granted, it can be quite a harrowing experience if contracted after childhood, but this could be an appropriate situation for the use of a vaccine.

The recommendations for the chicken pox vaccine are based on a study that actively looked for serious complications of chickenpox in all children admitted to hospitals in the UK and Ireland over a 13-month period. The researchers found 112 children who had serious complications of chickenpox, most often a secondary infection treatable with antibiotics. Six deaths were reported. Excluding one baby that died in the womb, four had a chronic health problem, such as HIV or cerebral palsy. Only one previously healthy child died, out of a total population of over 10 million. Chickenpox causes serious complications in less than 1 in 10,000 children (Dr. Richard Halvorsen). The above study concluded that “Most complications, excluding deaths, occur in otherwise healthy children and thus would be preventable only through a universal childhood immunisation programme.” How the researchers came to this conclusion, which is not in line with it’s data, perplexes me.

The same virus that causes chicken pox remains dormant in the human body until it presents as shingles, whether the virus is introduced via the chicken pox or the chicken pox vaccine. Before the introduction of the chicken pox vaccine, 95% of the population experienced chicken pox, usually benign and in childhood. Long-term immunity from Shingles, a painful skin rash that lasts a lifetime, was possible through the immunologic boosters from younger generations shedding the chicken pox virus. The introduction of the chicken pox vaccine has greatly compromised this long-term immunity as the vaccine only provides 70-90% protection. A protection of which the duration is unknown due to the absence of any long term studies. Shingles “carries 20 times more risk of death and 10–15 times more risk of hospitalization compared to chickenpox in children” (Dr. Jane Seward).


Rising Rates of Shingles

“HZ”: Shingles
“Licensure”: Introduction of Varicella/Chicken Pox vaccine


The increased rates of shingles as well as the side effects of the chicken pox vaccine have more than offset the supposed benefits of the decrease in the rates of chicken pox. Because of the inefficacy of the chicken pox vaccine, the US and Canadian vaccination program now requires a booster vaccine for both children and adults, which is still less effective than the natural immunity that existed prior to the introduction of the chicken pox vaccine. So rather than eliminating the chicken pox in children and warding off shingles later in life (as the pharmaceutical companies had previously promised) the routine vaccination for the chicken pox has proven very costly and has created continual cycles of treatment and disease (Study of these findings here).

The vaccine package insert for the chicken pox vaccine lists encephalitis, aseptic meningitis, Guillian-Barre syndrome, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and Bell’s palsy as reported adverse events of the chicken pox vaccine. The package insert also lists the vaccine ingredients; potassium chloride, monosodium L-glutamate, hydrolyzed gelatin, potassium phosphate monobasic, and fetal bovine serum. Scientists do not fully know what happens with these ingredients when they are injected into the human body; where they go, what the body does with it, or what effect they may have. These are chemicals and cow fetus products and we have no idea what they do to us, yet we inject them into ourselves and our children.

In light of recent studies, it is clear that the introduction of the chicken pox vaccine has done nothing for the betterment of the human population. If anything it has greatly increased the problem of shingles, which outcomes are much worse than the chicken pox for those who suffer from it. It has also greatly increased the income of employees and shareholders of pharmaceutical companies. Since auto immune disorders are on the rise, and considering that scientists are unsure of how exactly vaccine ingredients effect the immune system, adding a vaccine with no notable benefit to the schedule cannot be a good idea.

When considering vaccines for my own children, the chicken pox vaccine was an automatic “no”. My hope is that the government will clue in to detrimental effects this vaccine is having and take it off of the children’s vaccine schedule. Some other developed countries, such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland and Ireland are more careful in their vaccine selection and administration, and of course the chicken pox vaccine is not on their list.


  1. Pingback: The Measly Measles | For the Love of Real Food

  2. Jaci says:

    I want to ensure I’m reading it right that contracting chicken pox as a child and being continually exposed as an adult reduces the occupancy of shingles
    But since our kids are getting chicken pox and we aren’t getting exposed regularly there’s now more shingles?
    Also I have the “opportunity” to expose my healthy breast fed 1 yr old to a friend with shingles (out of town trip they are/were our Accomodations)
    Thoughts on this? I have no plans to vaccinate my child

    • Laura says:

      Yes you are reading it correctly!
      Sometimes babies can experience the chicken pox worse than a child would. As long as a child gets the chicken pox before puberty they will have lifelong immunity, I wouldn’t be in a rush to expose a 1 year old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.