A new study provides strong evidence that the Australian Government’s decision to add the chickenpox vaccine to the subsidised childhood vaccination list was the right one.
The study investigated an outbreak of chickenpox at a childcare centre in Perth, WA. Out of the 211 children attending the childcare centre, 44 contracted chickenpox.
Two staff members and nine others who came into contact with infected children were also affected by the outbreak.
The study, led by Hassan Vally of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, focused on two aspects of the outbreak ? the effectiveness of the vaccine and the costs associated with chickenpox in young children.
?We estimated that the average costs associated with each infected child was $525.73, which included both direct and indirect costs,? Dr Vally said.
?Direct costs included doctor?s fees and the purchase of medicines; indirect costs were incurred through taking time off work and though lost childcare fees.
?Chickenpox is generally a mild, self-limiting disease and is regarded by some as a normal part of childhood, but it does cause significant discomfort to the children affected.
?Our work strongly supports the Government?s decision to add chickenpox to the vaccination schedule and to fully fund it.”
?The chickenpox vaccine is safe and effective. Its use will prevent discomfort for thousands of children each year and will have a significant impact on the economic burden of this disease.?