The purpose of this article is not to judge or condemn or even debate vaccination. Rather, its purpose is to examine the ethics of deliberately spreading and sharing the disease through chickenpox parties.
For those who haven’t been vaccinated or who have weakened immune systems, exposure to the virus from a child who has been to a chickenpox party could mean potential severe complications.
Chickenpox parties can end up spreading the virus to people without them even knowing they’ve been exposed, or knowing that there was a threat of exposure.
Chickenpox isn't just a harmless childhood disease
Chickenpox is thought of as a relatively harmless, rite-of-passage kind of childhood disease. Many believe that chickenpox only makes kids itchy for 10 days, and keeps them home from school and mom or dad home from work, or otherwise juggling childcare.
Chickenpox can actually have very severe, life-threatening and fatal complications for both unimmunized infants, children and adults. The vaccine has significantly reduced the numbers of cases and related complications. Still, healthy, unvaccinated children and adults can catch the virus and face complications and death.
Before the chickenpox vaccine was introduced in 1995, about “4 million people would get the disease each year. Also, about 10,600 people were hospitalized and 100 to 150 died each year because of chickenpox.” (1)
Read this true story about a mom’s experience with chickenpox: Varicella (Chickenpox): Unprotected Story
Still think it’s harmless?
Complications of chickenpox
Complications of chickenpox can include:
• Dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea
• Pneumonia for 1 in 1000 children
• Bleeding problems
• Infection or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)