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DoH plays down chickenpox vaccine reports

The UK's Department of Health is playing down media reports that children in the UK could be vaccinated against chickenpox

The UK's Department of Health (DoH) is playing down media reports that children in the UK could be vaccinated against chickenpox (varicella).

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has set up a sub-group to look at the pros and cons of a chickenpox vaccination and are currently setting up a date for the first meeting, which will be either at the end of the year or at the beginning of 2008.

"It is a long way from introducing it or even saying it is a good thing. [Sub-groups are set up] to look at lots of different issues and it can take months or even years before something is recommended," said Vicky Wyatt, spokesperson for the DoH.

The JCVI asked for a sub-group to be set up in June 2006, as it recognised that chickenpox was an area of increasing importance, with recent evidence that vaccine prevented shingles in the elderly.

However, this is a complex area because of the potential impact of childhood infection on transmission dynamics at older ages.

30th September 2008

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