Last Tuesday, my daughter Miriam complained at breakfast of itchy skin. Miriam complains about a great many things (she’s generally quite insistent that most maladies, from stubbed toe to mild fever, require a trip to the emergency room), and so I didn’t initially take the complaint all that seriously. That afternoon, she complained to her mother, who noticed that a small rash had broken out on her arm. Miriam also had a couple of minor blisters on her legs, and so despite the lack of fever, we resolved to take her in the next morning.
On Wednesday, the doctor diagnosed Miriam with chicken pox. No fever, no nausea, few pox, but chicken pox nonetheless. We mentioned that Miriam had been vaccinated, and our pediatrician noted that she sees about one case a year of a kid who’s been vaccinated by nevertheless gets the disease. It apparently has a transmission rate of roughly 10%, and the cases are 10% as severe for a vaccinated kid as for an unvaccinated.
I got the chicken pox when I was 14. It was hell; constant itching, lethargy, deep unpleasantness all around. I missed two weeks of school. Miriam, the child who complains relentlessly (and eloquently, for a five year old) about every illness or injury, real and imagined, barely raised a peep about her rash, and missed only two days of school. Oh, and her twin sister Elisha has yet to develop the pox.
Dayenu, varicella vaccine. Dayenu.