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Varicella vaccine proposed

Government advisers are to consider plans to introduce a varicella vaccination campaign after discussing data from mod- elling studies.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation agreed to create a subgroup to consider varicella zoster vaccination in adults.

The announcement, in minutes from a meeting last

June, raises the possibility

that women pregnant for the first time could receive the

vaccine.

Evidence has already been submitted to the JCVI on the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a screening programme for first-time mothers followed by selective vaccination.

Professor Judy Breuer, who submitted the evidence, urged the JCVI to 'seriously consider' serologically screening all women in their first pregnancy for varicella immunity.

Professor Breuer, professor of virology at Barts and the London, Queen Mary school of medicine and dentistry, said: 'The vaccine is cost-effective for adolescents and post-partum pregnant women.

'There would be both economic and medical benefits to introducing a targeted vaccination programme in those two groups.'

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