top of page

Varicella~Chicken Pox Vaccine.....from a mild childhood rash to another pharma cash cow for chicken pox AND Shingles.

Reprinted from

The Illness: Chickenpox is caused by the Varicella virus. Infection causes fever and spots.

It can be diagnosed by the characteristic spots or a blood test and is transmitted like the common cold. Prior to the mid 1990s there were about 3.5 million cases each year in the US.  Now there are about 50,000 reported cases each year. Chickenpox is NOT generally serious. However, it is more uncomfortable for adults than children.  It is more serious for people with compromised immune systems and it can cause birth defects if contracted during pregnancy. There is an antiviral medication available, but for most cases, the infection is allowed to run it’s course.

Cost/Benefit: The rationale for instituting universal vaccination against chickenpox was that it would reduce the number of sick days for children and prevent the severe complications that are a rare side of effect of teenagers contracting the illness. However, these few benefits come at a cost. Vaccine-generated immunity is NOT lifelong and begins to wear off after 15-20 years, whereas natural immunity is generally lifelong. Moreover, when children still contracted natural chickenpox and exposed their parents and grandparents to the virus (again), it had the effect of “boosting” the immunity of the elders, thus preventing the varicella virus from re-emerging in their bodies as Shingles. Without children with chickenpox to boost the immunity of the elderly, we are seeing an epidemic of Shingles in adults. Due to the fact that the vaccine doesn’t provide as long-lasting immunity as natural immunity, children vaccinated against chickenpox appear to be more susceptible to Shingles infection as well. Thus, we are seeing an increase in young adults and even children with Shingles. Shingles is a more severe illness, manifesting as painful clusters of blisters and postherpetic neuralgia—sever and debilitating pain that can last for weeks, months or years. Thus, we are substituting a painful, debilitating illness for a mild illness that produces robust natural immunity, a dubious tradeoff. Vaccination against chickenpox is associated with higher risks of allergies and a rare blood disorder, called thrombocytopenia. Receipt of the vaccine that combines MMR and Varicella (MMRV-Proquad) is associated with a higher risk of seizures and hospitalization postvaccination. Natural infection with viruses such as chickenpox also reduces the risk of several adult diseases, most notably, cancer.

Concerningly, Chickenpox vaccines contain residual human cell debris and DNA/RNA from the cell line they were grown in. The vaccine is grown in a cell line derived from an aborted male fetus (MCR5). This raises ethical concerns for many people. Medically, the presence of human cell debris can theoretically cause several problems. First, the cell debris and/or the genetic material may bind to Toll-like receptors and activate an aberrant immune response. Second, the residual DNA may be taken up by stem cells in the blood and insert into the host DNA, thereby causing insertional mutagenesis. Insertional mutagenesis will increase the risk of cancers, specifically blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. Third, residual human cell debris is often contaminated with human retroviruses, such as HERV-K, which are associated with chronic fatigue and cancer.

The Vaccine: VARIVAX by Merck) is a live viral vaccine. A weakened version of the chickenpox (varicella) virus is grown on human cells derived for an aborted male fetus (MCR5 cells) to produce the virus. As a result of being grown in human cells, the final vaccine product WILL contain residual human cell debris and DNA/RNA. It also contains monosodium glutamate, gelatin and traces of the antibiotic neomycin, which can both illicit allergic-type responses in some people. Contraindications include those with previous anaphylactic reactions to the vaccine and those who are immunocompromise. This is a live viral vaccine and sets up a subclinical infection in those who receive it. Some will manifest the clinical symptoms of rash. Thus, there is a risk of substantial infection in those who are immunocompromised and they should be avoided by those recently vaccinate with live viral vaccines, such as this one.

Age Given: 1 year, and 5 years

Package Insert information can be found here.


Information concerning adverse events can be found in section 6, which contains information on the clinical trials as well as the post-marketing data.

Vaccine Ingredients: Varivax

  • live virus

  • sucrose

  • saline solution

  • gelatin

  • monosodium glutamate

  • potassium

  • residual components of the Merck human diploid cells (MRC-5)

  • EDTA

  • neomycin

  • trace quantities of cow fetus serum


Recent Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page