I read an unbelievablestory in the New York Posttoday. Families are notifying random parents via Craig's list to offer up their chickenpox infected child to anyone wanting their own child to be exposed. While this is bothersome on a variety of levels, perhaps the most disturbing to me is the erroneous notion that chickenpox is no big deal.
Many of us endured chickenpox as a childhood rite of passage, so one may argue, "well, I had it and lived to tell about it." However, those who died aren't here to say that. Considering the fact that I cared for a patient who died in front of my eyes due to chickenpox, I don't find parents having chickenpox parties very funny or very enlightened. If you've got an old computer to sell on Craig's list, great. If you have a child suffering from chickenpox, don't wish this affliction on any other child. I can't even imagine how horrible I would feel as a parent if I actively gave my child an illness--and then she died.
Okay, I will get off my soapbox now and offer up some other authors who have done an excellent job talking about vaccine safety concerns. Here's anexcellent reportcomes from two infectious disease experts who voluntarily serve on committees for the American Academy of Pediatrics.