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In their research article -- Integrating between-host transmission and within-host immunity to analyze the impact of varicella vaccination on zoster-- Ogunjimi et al. show that vaccinating one-year-olds against chickenpox could temporarily nearly double the incidence of shingles in the wider population, but in younger adults, namely 31 to 40-year olds, than previously thought.
A new model developed by the scientists also confounds previous findings on the length of time re-exposure to chickenpox boosts immunity to shingles. The effect was thought to last for up to 20 years, but results of the current modeling study, the first to be based on real immunological and virological data from individuals, show it only lasts for two. The findings are published in the journal eLife.
“We were surprised to find that re-exposure to chickenpox is beneficial for so few years and also that the most pronounced effect of vaccination on increasing cases of shingles is in younger adults. Our findings should allay some fears about implementing childhood chickenpox vaccination,” says lead author Dr Benson Ogunjimi.
Examples of media coverage featuring the study can be found below: