New York: Even though babies under one year old are too young to get the chicken pox vaccine, far fewer of them got the itchy rash after the US started routinely vaccinating older children in 1995, according to a new study.Researchers said that infants are now largely protected against chicken pox if their older siblings and daycare peers have been vaccinated, due to "herd immunity" -- the idea that if enough people are immune to a disease, it won`t be able to spread."It is a measure of the success of the (vaccination) program and the fact that we should encourage all parents to fully vaccinate their children," said Dr. Eugene Shapiro, who studies infectious diseases in kids at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven."If all children got vaccinated, then the small proportion who are still developing chicken pox would become even smaller, and so the risk to these infants who aren`t yet vaccinated would be even lower," added Shapiro, who wasn`t involved in the new study.Sixteen years ago, the US began a program to vaccinate all kids against chicken pox -- which usually just leaves them itchy for a few days but can cause serious complications, especially in pregnant women and babies.
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