You asked

Is it true that children are better off getting chicken pox than the vaccine?

Allowing a child to purposefully contract chicken pox from other children, in order to safe guard them from complications in later life is not recommended. It is better to have a child vaccinated between 12 and 18 months, of they have not had it before. The vaccine has been known to cause mild rash around the injection point or slight fever in a small minority of children.

The chicken pox vaccine is effective most of the time and should the child contract shingles in later life, the effects will be less severe. Children who have had chicken pox are still at risk of shingles and they will not have the benefit of the vaccine to minimise the symptoms. Even if a vaccinated child manages to get chicken pox, the recovery time will be quicker and the fevers and blisters, less severe.

If a child catches chicken pox from school or crèche, they will lose out on up to two weeks of tuition and their quarantine at home could impact negatively on your life too. The fever, sickness and blisters that accompany chicken pox are very unpleasant for children to endure. The blisters are very itchy and children will want to scratch them, which will result in permanent scarring. Chicken pox can be made worse by complications, such as bronchitis and bacterial infections. Very often healthy children with chicken pox are at the most risk of complications.

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