Chickenpox vaccine could be added to childhood immunisation schedule

Published date23 June 2022
Publication titleIrish Times: Web Edition Articles (Dublin, Ireland)
The Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) has published the protocol for its newest health technology assessment (HTA) of the addition of the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine to the routine childhood immunisation schedule

The protocol describes the approach Hiqa's team will use to complete this piece of work.

The authority said it had agreed to undertake this assessment following a request from the Department of Health, which was supported by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac).

Varicella-zoster virus can cause two clinical syndromes: chickenpox, as a result of primary (initial) infection, and shingles, which typically occurs in later life due to reactivation of the virus, Hiqa said.

Chickenpox is a common infectious disease that mainly affects children - one case of chickenpox can potentially infect 10 to 12 people. Within EU/EEA countries, the annual incidence of chickenpox is typically equivalent to the birth cohort; the total number of births in Ireland annually is approximately 56,000.

Dr Conor Teljeur, Hiqa's chief scientist said: "A vaccine for chickenpox was first developed almost 50 years ago. Over the last 30 years, a growing number of countries around the world have added the chickenpox vaccine to their routine childhood immunisation schedules.

"In Ireland, the vaccine is currently recommended...

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