Did you know there’s a vaccine for chickenpox?

I had no idea until a friend of mine, an adult, just caught chickenpox (she actually knew about the vaccine but her doctor told her she’d been ‘exposed’ and didn’t need it). Apparently the vaccine was approved in the U.S. in 1995. If you have never had chickenpox and haven’t been vaccinated, you can no longer say no one told you.

In 1995 I had my first New York City apartment and whatever I was doing, it wasn’t reading Prevention magazine. But this is the case with many people: it’s impossible to keep up with all the things we should know. And with all the hoopla over bottom-up information organization these days, my natural inclination is to go the other way and ask, how about a radically top-down, people-centric approach? What does that look like? Maybe something like this

Need To Know
Our educational system has failed to adapt to the changing information needs of the 21st century. The typical education lacks crucial information on such issues as managing our health, finances, and careers. Need To Know is a radically top-down approach to education. A massive research project is collecting data on millions of Americans to determine what most people do most of the time, and therefore what information they need to fruitfully live their lives. We will use this information to produce a one-hour television program composed of 360 ten-second video tutorials.

Ten seconds may not sound like a lot, but it’s enough to say, A vaccine for chickenpox was released in 1995. If you were born before 1977 and have never had chickenpox, go to a doctor and get the vaccine.

1 comment

  1. The benefit of any intervention should be assessed against the risk. Well something like not everything is worth it. Things cost money (not just money, time) and everything under the sun has the possibility of side effects. The design issue- their must be one- to create a system of selecting those who’s benefit is greater than their risk of harm from the vaccine itself. We should try to do this based on what we know about the vaccine.
    From the BBC England http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2161176.stm
    While the US takes a different slant (sort of ‘if there is the possiblity of benefit then offer). http://www.cdc.gov/niP/vaccine/varicella/faqs-gen-vaccine.htm
    Part of the difference between the two countries may have to do with the way healthcare is organised. In the UK the government provides care to all citizens and legal residents. (I know my bias is showing.) In the US patients are thought of consumers who decide what they will purchase. My advice to those in the US is ‘buyer beware’

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