Henry spots trouble, in Thomas and Friends
In the United Kingdom they don’t routinely vaccinate children for chicken pox, because they believe this would lead to more shingles in the community, a far more unpleasant and dangerous condition than chicken pox.
This belief comes from increases in shingles in the USA since they introduced routine chicken pox vaccination for children there in 1995.
Shingles results from reactivation of chicken pox virus (varicella zoster) that has lain dormant in a person’s nerve cells since they had chicken pox earlier, usually as a child.
The problem is that for those of us who have had chicken pox, we need to have the virus circulating in our communities so we get constant “boosters” to our immunity to it – without these boosters the virus is more likely to erupt and give us shingles.
You can read about it on this page, from the UK’s National Health Service:
Chickenpox vaccine FAQs
From the page:
There’s a worry that introducing chickenpox vaccination for all children could increase the risk of chickenpox and shingles in older people.
Whilst chickenpox during childhood is unpleasant, the vast majority of children recover quickly and easily. In adults, chickenpox is more severe and the risk of complications increases with age.
If a childhood chickenpox vaccination programme was introduced people would not catch chickenpox as children (as the infection would no longer circulate in areas where the majority of children had been vaccinated). This would leave unvaccinated children (there will always be a few who are unable or choose not to have the vaccine) susceptible to contracting chickenpox as adults when they are more likely to develop a more severe infection or a secondary complication, or in pregnancy when there is a risk of the infection harming the baby.
We could also see a significant increase in cases of shingles in adults. Adults who are naturally exposed to chickenpox (such as through contact with infected children) receive a natural boosting of their chickenpox antibodies which prevents the chickenpox virus (which remains dormant in the body after chickenpox infection) from reactivating in their bodies in the majority of cases and causing shingles.
If you vaccinate children against chickenpox, you lose this natural boosting so current levels of immunity in adults will drop and more shingles will occur.
You cannot get the chickenpox vaccine free on the NHS if you simply want to prevent your child from catching chickenpox and there are no other associated health risks.
Looks pretty-well banned to me. (Some people in the UK do buy the vaccine for their kids, but it is expensive which discourages the majority.)
And by the way, they don’t routinely vaccinate for chicken pox in about two thirds of the other European countries either, such as France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland – you can look it up on this website (look for Varicella):
ECDC Vaccine Schedule
Another problem with vaccinating children for chicken pox is that their vaccine immunity only lasts for about 10 to 20 years, so they are more likely to get chicken pox as a teen or adult, where they have a greater risk of chicken pox complications – like measles, chicken pox in adults is very unpleasant. See this other page from the UK, under ‘At-risk groups’:
Chickenpox – Complications
Here is a short about chicken pox vaccination from the movie ‘Bought’:
So how do they see childhood chicken pox in the UK?
Here’s a very funny episode from Thomas and Friends, Henry Spots Trouble, from just last year (2015):
This episode aired in Australia on December 28 2015, but soon afterwards it disappeared from the ABC website! See here: [since I posted this article they have changed the wording, now saying videos are only available for 14 days]
Someone had made a complaint about the Fat Controller’s comments starting 6.55 mins: “Even for people, chicken pox is nothing to be scared of Henry, most people get it when they’re young and get better very quickly. I had it when I was a child and look at me now – a strapping fellow, a picture of robust good health.”
This is from the ABC Kids’ reply to the complainant (according to the complainant’s post on a public Facebook page):
We [ABC KIDS] have decided that we will not air this episode in the future. We do feel that the episode was produced with the intention to deliver a humorous story about a hypochondriac train jumping to the wrong conclusions, and in no way was it intended to make a statement about vaccination. However, as the Fat Controller’s statement [does not] align with the Australian Government Department of Health’s Immunise Australia Program, we have decided this episode is not suitable to air on ABC KIDS at this time.
It’s not that the episode doesn’t align with the Government’s vaccination program, but that it doesn’t align with their scare campaign.
Then there is this hilarious episode of the Simpsons, from 2005, where Maggie gets chicken pox and Homer decides he’ll make a killing by throwing a chicken pox party..
Neighbour: “some parents have been known to hold Pox Parties, so other kids in the neighbourhood can get the disease when they please.”
Homer: “would they pay handsomely for the privilege?”
Makes the recent media outcry about chicken pox here in Australia look ridiculous, doesn’t it?
As for our politicians here in Australia, they love to say that regarding vaccines “the science is settled, the science is crystal, there is no debate”.
But clearly this is not the case with the varicella vaccine.
We don’t want shingles, thanks
Widespread chicken pox vaccination started here in 2005. I for one don’t want the risk of shingles for myself and my fellow Australians to increase, just because our politicians listened to people with vested interests in vaccine profits.
Of course the argument would be that very occasionally chicken pox leads to encephalitis, causing brain damage or death, but what people don’t understand (including many doctors) is that if people are susceptible to encephalitis, any opportunistic infection can settle in, if it isn’t chicken pox it will be something else. For one thing, the risk of serious complications is greatly exaggerated by health authorities and the press, but the main issue here is that shingles is a far more painful and deadly illness than chicken pox.
So please Australian health authorities, do the right thing and ban routine use of the chicken pox vaccine. And encourage chicken pox parties so people can get the disease when they please.