A chickenpox vaccine should be offered to babies in the UK, the Government’s immunisation advisors have said.
Data suggests the jab would slash chickenpox transmission and prevent most severe cases in children, according to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
It has submitted its recommendations to the Department of Health, which will make a final decision on whether to implement a rollout.
If given the green light, the jab would be offered in two doses at 12 and 18 months as part of the UK’s routine childhood vaccination schedule.
The vaccine advisors have also recommended a temporary catch-up campaign, which could see the injection offered to all 7million under-11s.
Data suggests the jab, which would be offered in two doses at 12 and 18 months, would slash chickenpox transmission and prevent most severe cases in children, according to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)
The US, Germany, Canada and Australia already offer the injection and have reported dramatic declines in chickenpox cases and hospitalisations, the JCVI said.
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, chair of the JCVI, said: ‘Chickenpox is well known, and most parents will probably consider it a common and mild illness among children.
‘But for some babies, young children and even adults, chickenpox or its complications can be very serious, resulting in hospitalisation and even death.
‘Adding the varicella vaccine to the childhood immunisation programme will dramatically reduce the number of chickenpox cases in the community, leading to far fewer of those tragic, more serious cases.
‘We now have decades of evidence from the US and other countries showing that introducing this programme is safe, effective and will have a really positive impact on the health of young children.’