Friday, March 26, 2010

Varicella? Very confusing.

So. I have a decision to make.

Do I get the kids their varicella (chicken pox) vaccines or don't I?

I have thought about this before. The health department sends out the kids' vaccine schedule regularly, highlighting the ones we haven't had but they think we should have, and varicella is always on there.

I do get my kids vaccinated. I don't delay the schedule. I just do it based on how my pediatrician's office recommends it. And I am not looking to debate this here.

However, I'm confused about what to do on the varicella vaccine.

Before Logan entered preschool, I talked to the pediatrician about it. He basically recommended against it because it requires boosters and it's a newer vaccine. It's better, he said, to just have them get chicken pox.

The nurse did add that my husband should get the vaccine since he's an adult and has never had the chicken pox and it can be pretty bad for adults who get it. I told him that but he hasn't done it.

After that conversation, I decided to sign the waiver for the vaccine at Logan's preschool and we went on with our lives.

Well, I signed him up for kindergarten this week and basically got a bunch of REALLY disapproving looks from the school people and they told me that if we do the waiver and a child in Logan's class comes down with chicken pox, he won't be allowed to come to school because he's not vaccinated. I didn't think to ask how long this suspension would last.

Basically, they were acting like I was dumb as a box of rocks for not having him vaccinated and saying, in so many words, that they would discriminate against my child because of it.

It made me think, though.

I guess where I stand is I DON'T KNOW if I should get my kids that vaccination. I can't seem to find CLEAR evidence that it is better or worse to do so. There doesn't seem to be CLEAR evidence if it has any impact on, for example, getting shingles in adulthood.

One one hand, I don't want to be bullied into getting it by school officials.

On the other hand, I DO believe vaccines have a place. I know the chicken pox sucks because I had it. Also, I worry about my husband. If one of the kids come home with a case, it could be really bad for my husband's health. In addition, I have heard that chicken pox can be pretty bad for kids with conditions like eczema, and Jordan had problems with eczema for the first six months of his life.

SO. What I'm looking for here is not any sort of debate or argument. If it turns into that, I'll simply delete offensive comments or even this entire post. I know vaccines can be a hot topic, but play nice.

What I want to know is how you feel about the varicella vaccine. Did you or would you get it for your kids? Why or why not? Please let me know!

Thanks for your input.


Gwenn said...

All my kids got the vaccine..they got all the other ones and I figured I would just go ahead and do the chicken pox one too seeing as if they never got it naturally it could be bad later on.

If you decide you would rather not go through with it maybe you could have your Dr. write the school a note saying he advised against it.

good luck!

Becca said...

I had all my boys get it mostly because I knew they needed it before they started school (or else it would be a big hassle like you've experienced). My doctor recommended it and I trust him. But I understand your confliction because I felt that way about the
H1N1 vaccination. I went back and forth so many times about it and in the end didn't have them get the vaccine. I'm pretty sure all my boys ended up getting the H1N1 flu but it wasn't as terrible as they were making it out to be. It's hard being the parent and having to make these kind of decisions for them. You want to do the best thing but don't always know what is best and hear so many conflicting opinions.

Aileen said...

Amelia and Nora have both gotten all the vaccines offered to them up to this point. It actually had nothing to do with what the school wants, or what the cdc wants. It was a decision Rob and I made, and that our pediatrician advocates, to protect our kids from any serious illnesses. The varicella is included in that, as is the seasonal flu and the H1N1. Sure, chicken pox isn't life-threatening for kids...but it sure is awful. Since we have the opportunity to protect the girls from getting it, why shouldn't we? And despite the vaccine's "young" age (introduced widely in 1995), there have been zero deaths in 40 million doses administered and only a small percentage of adverse reactions. Basically, like the other vaccines we obtained for ourselves and the girls, the disease far out-scares us vs the vaccine risks. And, since our girls have very healthy immune systems, the risks for us are almost inconsequential.