Good age for chicken pox?

Renee - posted on 04/08/2011 ( 58 moms have responded )

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I was wondering what a good age for exposing kids to chicken pox is. Friends have a kid with the pox right now, and I'm wondering if it's a good thing to expose my 19 month old deliberately. On the one hand, she's still breastfed which I've heard means she'll have a mild case, and it's supposed to be easier on the little ones anyway. On the other hand, it's not exactly easy to tell a 19 month old not to scratch, and the idea of deliberately exposing my daughter to a virus seems, well...kind of wrong.

I'd love to know what other people's experiences and thoughts are.

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Heather - posted on 04/19/2011

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We don't get teh vaccine in Scotland. My three year old has had the chicken pox this past week. I really wanted my children to get it when they are younger as the older you get the worse it can get. My guys spots came out on a wednesday night and now tuesday they are mostly scabed over with a couple still blistered.

I have friends who while they were breast feeding they little girl got it and only had minor poxs. My preference is get it now and be done with it.

I also think it is funny that we have turned into a world that everyone runs out and get shots for the slightest things. I had the chicken pox when I was little as most moms did and we all turned out okay. x

Christine - posted on 04/08/2011

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you could always just get the vaccine, which is essentially the same thing. :)

Jessica - posted on 04/17/2011

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I have to wonder why you would want to put your daughter through that? My parents took me to a "chickenpox party" when I was about 6 and I had it so bad I had to be hospitalized. I had chickenpox covering my whole body including inside my mouth and throat, ears and covering my eyes so they were swollen shut. When my younger brother was old enough he got the vaccine and 19 yrs later has still never been sick. I personally got the vaccine for both my boys, and if they happen to catch it later well at least I tried to protect them.

Genie - posted on 04/20/2011

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I was born in 1968, back then we all got the chicken pox b/c the vaccine was just being introduced. I was sick , but nothing more than 5 days or so of sickness. My immune system developed a strong immunity to it , and hopefully I will never get it again. The vaccine on the other hand has toxins in it along with all the other toxins that crowd our vaccines. Check out the exact ingredients on www.nvic.org ( you will be amazed at the ingredients you, me and others have shot into our children thinking they were safe. I stopped giving vaccines to my 3 kiddos, have been healthy and would love for my kiddos to get the pox naturally....I am totally for greener , cleaner vaccines and waiting to begin vaccinations at a later age...when their immune system is stronger...

Erin - posted on 04/19/2011

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I am a pediatrician and I would Never recommend willfully exposing your child to chicken pox. This is simply antiquated thinking. Chicken pox is the most virulent virus on earth; what this means is that if a child with a natural case gets around anyone that hasn't had it, chances are incredibly high that they will also catch it. Chicken pox can cause severe secondary skin infections, corneal damage if it spreads to the eyes, liver damage, and irreversible brain damage (which I have seen in a previously healthy little girl) from the encephalitis and there is no way of predicting which children will have these side effects. The vaccine has been given for at least 10 years, contains no mercury, and has a low side effect profile. If your child does get a rash from the vaccine or gets chicken pox after having the vaccine, the case will be much more mild than what she would have experienced without it and it is not as" spreadable" to other people. I would highly recommend the vaccine; I have seen kids get a rash from it but no other bad side effects and I have given thousands of doses of it.

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Neomi - posted on 09/28/2012

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The vaccine doesn't make any sense to me... It will prevent them from having it as a kid and then when the vaccine wears out they will be a young adult and get much worse case!! Your daughters cld get it while pregnant and affect their babies!!! Gd knew what He is doing to give it to kids... It takes five to ten days and you're done.... No big deal... All my kids have had it...

Natasha - posted on 11/09/2011

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Actually just because a child has the chicken pox vaccine doesn't mean they wont get the chicken pox. My nephew who is vaccinated gave the chicken pox to my son who is not. my son was 15 months at the time and had less symptoms than my nephew. my son didn't even get a fever with it and didn't bother to scratch.

Ally - posted on 04/25/2011

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My daughter just had them about a week after her third birthday and I think it was the perfect time..for most kids over 2 and under 10 chicken pox is usually a mild and benign illness and almost always protects them for life as opposed to the shot that at best most docs will tell you last about 8 to 10 years.
I didn't want to set my daughter up for a lifetime of booster shots and always wondering if she was still protected especially during pregnancy so I was so happy we got it over with and will never have to worry about it. (cuz Let's
be honest how many adults actually keep uo with checking their blood titer levels and get all their booster shots?)

My daughter did wonderfully had about 250-300 spots and almost no complaints at all except for a could hours the first day they scabbed over. She was also old enoght that she could communicate when she was itchy and where so that i could address it effectively and scratching was almost non existent. I would hold off on exposing a 19 month old maybe for a year or so just so you can better communicate with your child and keep her as comfortable as possible during the illness :) best of luck

And just for the record all of the post saying to vaccinate your chikd so they wont get shingles later are misinformed. The vaccine is a live virus that is injected into the body...the only way you are at risk for shingles is if you have had the infection OR THE SHOT...it is the exact opposite of what some of these posts are claiming so you aren't protecting your child from shingles by getting them vaccinated for chicken pox.

Darcie Mae - posted on 04/22/2011

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My children are grown now, but when they were little they never had the chicken pox. One year their pediatrician decided they had better have the chicken pox vaccine. Two of them did just fint with it and have never had the chicken pox. But, my youngest child got a case of chicken pox. I thought maybe I should have just exposed them and let them get it over with too. It's a tough decision to make, so I figured I would share what happened to me. Good luck to you and your little one.

Darcie Mae - posted on 04/22/2011

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My children are grown now, but when they were little they never had the chicken pox. One year their pediatrician decided they had better have the chicken pox vaccine. Two of them did just fint with it and have never had the chicken pox. But, my youngest child got a case of chicken pox. I thought maybe I should have just exposed them and let them get it over with too. It's a tough decision to make, so I figured I would share what happened to me. Good luck to you and your little one.

Emily - posted on 04/21/2011

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Depending on how you feel about vaccinations...get her vaccinated. Exposing her to chicken pox actually has lifelong consequences. Have you ever heard of Shingles? Basically it is the same virus as chicken pox lying dormant in your body...but attacks a nerve and presents as Shingles. Since only those of us that have had chicken pox will get Shingles...just vaccinate her and prevent pain and suffering now and in the future.

Ellyn - posted on 04/21/2011

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I've known more than one person who was exposed to chicken pox when they were young and ended up getting a mild case of it and then got it again later in their life.

If you're set on exposing them to chicken pox, which should happen when they're younger because supposedly there are worse side effects when you get it as an adult, I would recommend waiting until they're old enough to tell you how their feeling and so that they can understand not to scratch. Most complications are from infections caused from bacteria entering the open sores from children scratching the pox. With that said, make sure that if you do expose her to make sure everyone that comes into contact with her has had chicken pox - especially adults and the elderly.

Cathy - posted on 04/21/2011

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I hope you didn't expose your child they have immunizations for it my daughter had hers at a tear

Christina - posted on 04/21/2011

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Go with your instincts. If it feels kind of wrong, it probably is. Get the vaccine. It does the same thing without your child getting itchy sores all over. Much easier on her and you.

Jenny - posted on 04/21/2011

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I wouldn't deliberately do it specially when she's only 19 months old. That would just be a nightmare. It is better to have it when your younger but not that young.

Jennifer - posted on 04/21/2011

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Chicken pox suck! For the parent and the child who has to suffer through it. Why would you want to expose your daughter to it when there is a vaccine available? It has been around for about 15 years now, I remember when it came out, right after I had gotten the chicken pox. At the time we had just moved cross-country and were staying with my aunt and uncle. I got them, then all 4 of my brothers and sisters, and all 6 of my cousins. These were not mild cases. My little cousin, who was just under 2 at the time, got them so bad we couldn't recognize him (or certain parts of him!) It was horrible. Vaccinate, even if she gets it later when she goes to school, she'll have a much milder case, and she'll be at an age when she can listen to "don't scratch". The tale that it is worse the older you get typically refers to teenagers and adults who have not had them. Also, have you had them? Or your husband (if he's around?) Every adult that has regular contact with them? If not there's a good chance you'll get them if she does, and it is much more likely to put you in the hospital (as it did my aunt when she caught them from us kids at the age of 28.)

Pauline - posted on 04/21/2011

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HI Renee, I got my little Alicia vaccinated for chicken pox when she was 18 months better than getting the chicken pox and if she gets it it will be mild on her.

Gerri - posted on 04/20/2011

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I would, just because the vaccine is so new that they don't know how long it lasts. At least if she gets it now, she won't remember it, and you know she won't get it again.

Keri - posted on 04/20/2011

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I actually got chicken pox myself when I was 9. I don't think I'd deliberately expose any child under 5 to it. "Mild case" generally means that it can come back later too. Let your child get it if they're going to get it but don't make them get it.

Alice - posted on 04/20/2011

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People used to do that all the time, but now that there is a vaccine for them why would you want to? Both my kids have been vaccinated, neither of them got them.

I can remember catching them twice. The first time was a mild case the second was NOT! I would have given anything to have been vaccinated against them.

Mary - posted on 04/20/2011

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There are pros and cons either way. I am reading all the responses regarding the vaccine and all I can tell you is what my son's dr. told me...they don't truly know how long the vaccine lasts, it could be as little as two years. He wasn't really keen on giving it, but my son's preschool required it. My thought was that I'd rather have my son get the chicken pox as a small child rather than as a teen or worrying about it as an adult. I'm not so crazy about the idea of vaccinating against childhood illnesses that are not life threatening.

Donna - posted on 04/20/2011

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i agree get the vaccine dont put her through the discomfort.My son got the vaccine and got them from pre school he got around 15 spots then my 14 month old got them from him and her hole body was covered in spots she was up crying for 2 night with not much sleep she was so uncomfortable she is now 4 and still see around 8 scars i would not wish that on anyone.If she got them after the vaccine she should only get a mild dose.its not good as an adult either my husband and i got it a few weeks later not good

Sally - posted on 04/20/2011

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id never heard that ther was a vaccine lol, i was never informed by healyth visitor or anything, i have a nely 4yr old and a 19m old, my eldest picked up chicken pox from preschool wen she was just 3 and my youngest caught them off her and she wasn't quite a yr old, i went into panic bout miley been so young and took her to health visitor and they just sed shel be fine, its better to get it over with while they are young and told us to take them round to my sisters to mix with my nephews as well so
they got them, and that was advice from an health visitor so cant be that bad to expose them.

both my kids were fine thru it and got no scars at all, my youngest nephew ended up with a small scar near his ear but that all, they were all fine xx

hope this helps xx

Leslie - posted on 04/19/2011

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My husband is a pediatric nurse and I am also in the healthcare field. I would advise you not to try to get your child infected with chicken pox. Not only are you opening the door for potential complications now but you are also setting your child up for potential problems later in life. Get the vaccine. It along with boosters will protect just fine.. I would never set out to make my children sick on purpose.

Emma - posted on 04/19/2011

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I had the chicken pox when I was about 5. I think it's best to wait and let kids get sick on their own. Once she starts school she'll be exposed to everything anything, let sickness run it's own course is my thought.

Charlee - posted on 04/19/2011

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Well I let my son when he was under a yr old be around, he did not get it because he was vaccinated for it, still hasnt gotten it and he is 9 now. I think kids need to be exposed to germs and things to build up their tolerance, but that is just me. My daughter is 2 now and she has not been exposed to it because i havent known anyone who got it so...... But she has been vaccinated as well.

Liz - posted on 04/19/2011

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Renee don't feel bad about even thinking of this. I didn't fully vaccinate my kids and it's a completely voluntary and personal choice. For a great bookd that is unbiased and informative, look at Dr. Sears The Vaccine Book. As far as Chicken pox goes I can't answer to that as I don't know enough about it. I do have 2 friends though that have gotten shingles at 40 which is unusual. They are speculating that when adults are exposed to Chicken Pox through children that it acts like a booster. With the vaccine, we may start seeing more adults getting shingles earlier in life. My daughter is 6 and will give her the vaccine now as it can get severe the older they are. Everything in life has a risk and benefit to weigh. You are a mother, trust your instincts.

Cassandra - posted on 04/19/2011

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Yes, If you get the vaccine you still may get the virus, however, it will be less severe. if a titer shows the original vaccine has worn off, you can always repeat the series

Leah - posted on 04/19/2011

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In response to Karen, it's not actually true that the vaccine only lasts for 8-9 years...they have only been tracking people who have received the vaccine in the US for 10 years, but the protection is still there after that time (also, they have been tracking it in Japan for 25 years, after which time it is still effective as well). http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/vari...



Yes, it's true that no vaccine is 100% effective, and someone who has been vaccinated can still get the disease--but that's true when it comes to the disease itself. I personally got the chicken pox when I was just a toddler, and then again when I was about 8--this is before the vaccine was around (believe me, I would've taken the vaccine over the actual disease any day!). But in both cases (kids who are vaccinated or exposed to the chicken pox virus), it is usually a milder case the second time around.



I don't want to make you feel like I'm attacking you--I'm not. While I feel it's important to vaccinate my child, I understand many parents' concerns about vaccination and respect their decisions to not vaccinate (as long as it's an informed decision). Like the vaccines, NOT vaccinating carries along with it certain dangers--often the illness is far more debilitating.

Cassandra - posted on 04/19/2011

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NO!!!!! Do not intentionally expose your child to chicken pox! It is an uncomfortable and potentially deadly virus. You should have gotton her vaccinated at her 12 or 15 month check up. Ask her doctor. She will get a booster dose of the vaccine at her 5 year check up and once she is an adult ( or a child if you want to know) she can get a blood test to check her immunity. Please, please don't expose her!!! It feels wrong because it is wrong. Vaccines have proven effectivness and safety. Anything bad you have heard about vaccines is wrong. Side effects are either not even noticed or very small, they include soreness at the injection site (for only a day or less), mild fever, mild body aches, redness around injection site. They benefits of getting her vaccinated far outway any risks. Also, babies less than 12 months old have not been alive long enough to complete their vaccinations, so if you don't vaccinate your children and they get sick (are most contagious when not showing symptoms), then we go to the same grocery store and my 6 month old baby catches your daughters, chicken pox, measles, pertussis etc, and dies. Herd immunity! Knowledge is power! Please protect our countries children.

Kimberly - posted on 04/19/2011

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So...just wondering, Renee...since this post was made on the 8th, and today is the 19th, what decision did you make?

Erica - posted on 04/18/2011

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Per Elfrieda's post: the chicken pox vaccine actually isn't all that new. My 13 yo got it when she was little, and she's never gotten chicken pox.

Janice - posted on 04/18/2011

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my 15 yr old had them at 8 months old he got them from daycare and we had no problems

Sharla - posted on 04/18/2011

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There is no good age to expose children to chicken pox. This disease was previously thought to be harmless, but has since been linked to juvenile diabetes, liver disease, nerve damage, shingles, immune deficiencies, and more. The best advice: get the varicella vaccine!! Vaccine-phobic parents are willingly exposing their children to preventable diseases that may very well greatly decrease their child's quality of life - and the link between ADHD and vaccination is false. Vaccinate your child and protect them from the pox!

Liz - posted on 04/18/2011

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The potential side effects from the childhood diseases, such as chicken pox, which are commonly viewed as 'less serious' can be life threatening and life changing, such as DEATH or permanent sterility. Do you really want to play a game of roulette with your child's health? Please get the vaccine.

Doreen - posted on 04/18/2011

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the older a person is the more they seem to mind the virus, is is more mild in a younger person, yet you do not want them to cause scars from the scratching. there is a vaccine for chicken pox now. but I will probably let my boys get it the old fashioned way if I can.

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I wouldn't expose my kids intentionally. I would get the vaccine. Even if you expose your child, they can get it again. I am case in point--I had it twice as a kid...one mild case, then later I got it worse.

Lisa - posted on 04/18/2011

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Never! Chicken pox can have serious side effects even if rare why take the chance. When exposing her you are exposing everyone else around her as well. Have all adults in your family and setting been vaccinated or had the chicken pox? If not, chicken pox in an adult is extremely serious and could have potential long term effects or be deathly in an elderly person. Exposing your child can effect more than her. Please be very careful!

Lisa - posted on 04/18/2011

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Why the heck would you willfully expose a child to an illness that has a perfectly safe vaccine. I don't get it at all.

Katie - posted on 04/17/2011

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I dont know why anyone would want to deliberately want there kids to get sick? she will be miserable. theres a vaccine for chicken pox now isnt there?

Janessa - posted on 04/13/2011

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There is a vaccine for that now, maybe you already know that, and it doesn't work for you guys. But just thought I'd let you know, if you didn't.

Jeanine - posted on 04/13/2011

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My daughter just got over having chicken pox. She's 4 years old and luckily she had a very mild case (just on her tummy and shoulders and didn't spread anywhere else). She had the vaccine as well as my son (7 years). I was told that the vaccine is only 70% effective against a mild case, but it is 95% effective against a severe case. So, just because you get the vaccine does not guarantee she won't get them later on. Also, if your friend's child has already broken out in the rash then they're probably not contagious anymore. They are most contagious a day or two BEFORE they breakout when you don't even know they have it. Unless the blisters burst and your child touches the liquid that was inside it. You won't know if your child has gotten it until 10-21 days after anyways. I run a daycare and now have to wait a couple of weeks to see if anyone else has gotten it as well as any of the kids in her class (junior kindergarten). Good luck with your decision.

Christine - posted on 04/11/2011

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the vaccine is a live virus vaccine it is a "softened" form of the virus mixed with a mild antibiotic. therefore it is essentially the same thing as exposing your child to another child with chickenpox EXCEPT you are not exposing your child to the full strength virus.



also chicken pox and shingles are a variation of the same virus. since you are given the virus with the vaccine AND when you are voluntarily exposed to chickenpox there is a chance that you will get shingles in either instance. i would imagine that there is a greater chance if you are exposed to a full strength version of the virus. http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/wh...



all vaccines are essentially made in the same way and they are like most things the product might be new but the basic technology has been around for a while. why risk possible complications? get the vaccine.

Elfrieda - posted on 04/10/2011

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I have been wondering this, too. My son is 15 months old.

My niece got the chickenpox around your daughter's age, and she barely noticed it! I've heard that the older the kid, the worse they feel it. I think the next time the chickenpox goes around, my son and I will go visiting!



I understand the reluctance to force your child to get sick, but the vaccine is SO new, who knows what the longterm effects are? I read something that suggested that it might cause shingles later in life. I'd rather just do it the oldfashioned way. My mom couldn't believe the hoards of visitors we got when my sister and I got chickenpox. She would never have gotten us sick on purpose, but she's a softie. :)

Amy - posted on 04/09/2011

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I just did a quick google search and there can be many complications from getting Chickenpox. Rare, but possible. I would definitely just go with the doctor recommended vaccine.
•Newborns are at risk for severe infection, if they are exposed and their mothers are not immune.
•A secondary infection of the blisters may occur.
•Encephalitis is a serious, but rare complication.
•Reye's syndrome, pneumonia, myocarditis, and transient arthritis are other possible complications of chickenpox.
•Cerebellar ataxia may appear during the recovery phase or later. This is characterized by a very unsteady walk.

Michelle - posted on 04/09/2011

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They gave my daughter the vaccine at 18 months, my son got it over 9 years ago and has never had the chicken pox

Elizabeth - posted on 04/09/2011

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...definately not..especially not that young. Get the vaccine and don't torture him with aweful chicken pox on purpose.

April - posted on 04/09/2011

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I agree with Pia. I wouldn't ever want to expose my kids to that. It's so horrible to have and without the vaccine it's worse. Wait till you vaccinate your son so if he ever contracts it it won't be as bad.

Pia - posted on 04/08/2011

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Why do you want to expose him at all? Vaccinate him when he's old enough and then if he does happen to contract it after it should be a milder case...

Sarah - posted on 04/08/2011

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In response to Karen's post....yes they do have a booster for the chicken pox vaccine. My memory does not serve me well as to when the booster is given...I am thinking usually at Kindergarden age, but I could be wrong. Both my kids had the first vaccine and then also the booster. Yes there are some kids that can still get a mild case of the chicken pox if they have had the vaccine, but most do not. For me personally it would be something I would do some looking into instead of trying to expose my child to the chicken pox.

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