It's been 10 years since the varicella vaccine was first introduced. Today, 90 percent of the kids in this country are getting that shot to protect against the chicken pox. That's according to the CDC which has been tracking the health records of more than 2 million babies, children, teens and adults. The chicken pox vaccine not only means that more kids are living normal lives, but it translates into a savings of more than $63 million.
"Chicken pox vaccine is working. From 1994 to 2002, the rate of hospitalization decreased 88%. The rate of medical visits decreased almost 60%," says Abigail Shefer M.D. at CDC.
Not only are we seeing less direct medical costs, we're seeing a lot less sick children and we're seeing a lot less indirect costs of people having to miss work and children having to miss school," says Jaquelin Gotlieb M.D. a pediatrician.
The CDC says even though you need to be a year old before you can get the chicken pox vaccine, it's the infants who benefit the most. You see, chicken pox can be deadly in infants, but when older kids get the shot, they avoid the illness, and that means there's less of a chance that a baby will be exposed.