Sunday, July 18, 2004

Chicken Pox Vaccine: Worth It, Or Not?

My older two kids have broken out in some extremely scary-looking sores that look at first like normal bug bites, but then erupt into what looks like bug bites that have been scratched till they bled, and eventually turn into oblong open sores about one inch long and half an inch tall-- and then they spread. And I suspect they're contagious-- the neighbor kids have them too. They look scary enough that Favorite Husband rushed Sonshine to the doctor on a Saturday to have them looked at. Unfortunately, the doctor didn't know what they were and gave us a 'scrip for some antibiotics. (Thanks a bunch, Doc, that must be why we pay you the big bucks.)

A friend of mine has a daughter who had some similar sores, and their doctor said it was a form of chicken pox. The neighbor concurs. I've gotta say, though, that I've never seen chicken pox like those. Evidently since chicken pox vaccination became widespread, the virus still goes around, except that now it produces these localized cases of mutant chicken pox, which of course are still contagious. The chicken pox vaccine doesn't seem to be stopping the spread of the virus, and it doesn't seem to be reducing the need to keep the kids out of contact with other kids. If this happens during the school year, they'll miss just as much school as they would with a conventional case of chicken pox. Not only that, but those inch-wide sores are deep-looking, and I'd bet dollars to donuts that they'll leave some nasty scars.

So, remind me again, what exactly was supposed to be the benefit in getting my kids immunized against chicken pox?