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Chickenpox Vaccine Cuts Down on Hospitalizations

Chickenpox Vaccine Cuts Down on Hospitalizations

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Dr. Kim Mulvihill reporting When it comes to infectious disease, pediatrician Dr. Jaquelin Gotlieb has noticed a change.

"We are seeing much less chickenpox," the doctor says. "We used to see it very frequently."

New research by the Centers for Disease Control says the change is because of the chickenpox vaccine.

Abigail Shefer, M.D.: "Chickenpox vaccine is working. From 1994 to 2002, the rate of hospitalization decreased 88%. The rate of medical visits decreased almost 60%."

Federal scientists tracked the health records of more than two million babies, children, teens and adults. They found fewer hospitalizations and medical visits save a lot of money.

"Direct medical care expenditures decreased almost 75%, from 85 million to 22 million."

That's a reduction of 63 million dollars. Infants saw the greatest benefit from the vaccine. Fewer got the chickenpox, which can be deadly in infants.

"Even though they're not able to receive the vaccine because they're too young, they benefited because the rates declined so greatly in children, adolescents and adults and therefore there was less disease circulating for infants to be exposed to."

Teens and adults benefited for the same reason. Kids got vaccinated, so they didn't get chickenpox, so they didn't pass the disease to others.

"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."

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