Incorporation of Varicella-Zoster virus vaccination in childhood immunization schedules

Haim Rothbart, Shmuel Rishpon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Varicella is a highly infectious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Usually chickenpox is a self-limiting and relatively mild disease of childhood, although it is frequently more severe with significant complications, and less often, is responsible for case fatalities. Varicella disease is more severe and its complications are more frequent and severe amongst high risk groups (neonates, pregnant women and immunocompromised patients). After the initial infection, the VZV remains dormant in dorsal root ganglia and may reactivate with declining cellular immunity to cause herpes zoster, particularly in the elderly and immunocompromised. Varicella vaccine is an effective preventive tool for decreasing the burden attributable to the disease and its complications. The incorporation of VZV vaccination in childhood immunization schedules was restricted until recently. Nowadays, many countries implement it. A few years ago, the Israeli Ministry of Health recommended adding the vaccine to the childhood immunization schedule. This was not enacted because of budgetary constraints. This is due in September this year, together with an additional dose of pertussis vaccine for pupils in 8th grade. During the next few years there are plans for other new vaccines, that are being incorporated in the routine vaccination programs in developed countries, also to be added to the Israeli childhood immunization schedule: the conjugated pneumococcal vaccine, the vaccine against the rotavirus and the HPV vaccine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-697
Number of pages5
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Childhood immunization schedule
  • Vaccine
  • Varicella
  • Varicella-Zoster-virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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