Vaccinations Can Reduce New York City's Chickenpox Outbreak

New York City pharmacies offer Varicella vaccines
vaccine pharmacy
by Marilyn Cada
New York City (Precision Vaccinations News)

The current varicella (chickenpox) outbreak in New York City emphasizes the significance of high vaccination coverage and the necessity for improved infrastructure to facilitate vaccinations for individuals who have recently arrived in the United States from countries that do not routinely administer this vaccination.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on May 30, 2024, among 780 (89.3%) chickenpox cases with a known source of transmission, 41.3% of persons were exposed in a shelter or residential facility, 39.4% of cases were importations or possible importations, and 18.2% were infected by a household or family member.

According to the CDC, despite multiple virus exposures in schools and approximately 70% of cases occurring in school-aged children, minimal chickenpox transmission (1.2%) was reported in this setting.

This CDC finding is likely attributable to high chickenpox vaccination coverage among school-aged children, as New York State law requires documentation of two doses of varicella vaccine to attend school grades K–12.

In NYC, varicella vaccine coverage among kindergarten children during the 2021–22 school year was 96.7%.

The CDC wrote that the ongoing importation of varicella into NYC highlights the importance of migrants having access to vaccines throughout their journey.

When in NYC, over 2,600 chain and independent pharmacies offer vaccination services in the five boroughs. 

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