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GPs 'should keep gatekeeper role'

Mass chickenpox vaccination could save the NHS vast sums of money in reduced health care costs, a new US economic analysis suggests.

Since its introduction across the US in 1995, varicella vaccination has successfully prevented cases of chickenpox in both vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.

The new study concluded the vaccine programme had saved $100 million in hospitalisation costs ­ a figure not taking into account savings on GP visits, prescription costs or time off work for parents or adult patients.

Dr Matthew Davis, assistant professor of public policy at the University of Michigan, concluded the yearly hospital cost savings alone were enough to pay for a large proportion of vaccine costs.

The UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has so far ruled out

routine varicella vaccination but has considered vaccinating more high-risk patients.

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