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C. Pox Vaccine Might Be Required for All Missouri Kids

(photo from SLU Center for Vaccine Development)
(photo from SLU Center for Vaccine Development)

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO –

KWMU has learned the state of Missouri may soon require the chicken pox vaccine for all children before they enter school.

The shots are currently required children going to day care, but the new rule would make it a must for all Missouri youth. The move has critics, including Phyllis Schlafley, who is best known for her work against the Equal Rights Amendment.

"This whole proposal is a lobbying effort by the drug companies who can't force parents to do it unless they get the law to force parents to do it," Schlafley said. "And I don't think we should have that type of forced medicine."

But Robert Belsche, with SLU Hospital, says researchers have learned in the vaccine's few years on the market just how safe it is.

"There are certain things that we require as a society because it benefits all of us," Belsche said. "And reduction of infectious diseases through the use of vaccines has been a very, very effect way for improving public health." More than 30 states already require the chicken pox vaccine.

For years, chicken pox was almost a right of passage for children. The trademark pox inflicted millions of young bodies, only to go away a few weeks later. But the virus stays in people forever and can come back as shingles later in life. Also, some kids die from chicken pox, which is why there's been a vaccine for almost a decade.

To hear a report from KWMU's Tom Weber, click the 'listen' icon above.