Hospitalizations Fall After Varicella Vaccination Program

Implementation of one-dose vaccination program in 1995 appears to have decreased hospitalizations

TUESDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The number and rate of varicella-related hospitalizations declined significantly after implementation of a one-dose varicella vaccination program in 1995, according to a study published online Jan. 3 in Pediatrics.

Adriana S. Lopez, M.H.S., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed two national databases for trends in varicella-related hospitalizations in the United States in 2000 to 2006, after implementation of the varicella vaccination program, compared with those in the prevaccination era (1988 to 1995).

The investigators found that 24,488 varicella-related hospitalizations were estimated to occur during the one-dose vaccination era. The investigators also found that the varicella-related hospitalization rate was 0.12 per 10,000 population during the one-dose vaccination era compared with 0.42 per 10,000 population in the prevaccination era. Compared with those in the prevaccination era, the estimated annual average number of varicella-related hospitalizations was significantly lower and decreased by ≥65 percent in all age groups during the one-dose vaccination era. During the one-dose vaccination era, the varicella-related hospitalization rate estimated from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample was 0.09 per 10,000 population.

"Assuming declines in varicella-related hospitalizations are due, mainly, to the routine childhood varicella vaccination program, these data suggest that varicella vaccination prevented ∼50,000 varicella-related hospitalizations in the United States from 2000 to 2006," the authors write.

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