There isn’t a routine vaccination offered by the NHS
Words Miriam Carey
Superdrug has become the first high street retailer to offer a Chickenpox vaccination service, which will be on offer in selected Health Clinics across the country.
The vaccination is not currently part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule in the UK. It is only available on the NHS for those who are at high risk of spreading the virus to vulnerable people, such as healthcare workers.
Chickenpox is an incredibly common childhood disease caused by a highly contagious virus called Varicella Zoster. It is particularly common among children at primary school, and affects nearly 8 million 1 to 10 year olds in the UK.
Although not harmful to most people who catch it, chickenpox can be very unpleasant, especially in children from school age onwards. It carries symptoms such as an itchy red rash of spots and blisters and a fever. Other symptoms could include tiredness, nausea, headache, muscle ache and loss of appetite.
“Chickenpox is often seen as a rite of passage in childhood resulting in anything from a very mild to a more serious infection” commented Dr. Pixie, Superdrug’s Health and Wellbeing Ambassador.
In most cases, the symptoms tend to subside after one week but can become dangerous if caught by patients with an impaired immune system, newborn babies and pregnant women.
Having Chickenpox once makes you immune for life
Once you have Chickenpox, you should be immune to it for life, but if you didn’t get the disease in childhood, it is still possible to contract chickenpox as an adult, at which point it tends to be more severe with increased risk of pneumonia, hepatitis and encephalitis.
“Having suffered from severe Chickenpox at the age of 19 I would far rather have undergone the vaccine than be struck down with the infection” added Dr. Pixie.
A person can contract chickenpox by touching a contaminated surface or object or just by being in close contact with someone already infected..
They will then be infectious from one or two days before a rash appears until any subsequent blisters have crusted over.
The vaccination will cost £65 per dose
The vaccination is available at £65 per dose, and two doses – four to eight weeks apart – are recommended to give heightened immune protection. However the NHS states that 9 out of 10 children vaccinated with a single dose will develop immunity against chickenpox.
The Chickenpox vaccination service is now available in 58 of Superdrug’s nurse and pharmacist Health Clinic stores. To find out more about making an appointment visit healthclinics.superdrug.com.
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