Varicella and varicella vaccination in South Korea

Sung Hee Oh, Eun Hwa Choi, Seon Hee Shin, Yun Kyung Kim, Jin Keun Chang, Kyong Min Choi, Jae Kyun Hur, Kyung Hyo Kim, Jae Youn Kim, Eun Hee Chung, Soo Young Lee, Su Eun Park, Sungho Cha, Kwang Nam Kim, Sang Hyuk Ma, Byung Wook Eun, Nam Hee Kim, Dae Sun Jo, Bo Youl Choi, Shin Ah Kim

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47 Scopus citations


With continuing occurrence of varicella despite increasing vaccine coverage for the past 20 years, a case-based study, a case-control study, and an immunogenicity and safety study were conducted to address the impact of varicella vaccination in South Korea. Varicella patients under the age of 16 years were enrolled for the case-based study. For the case-control study, varicella patients between 12 months and 15 years of age were enrolled with one control matched for each patient. For the immunogenicity and safety study, otherwise healthy children from 12 to 24 months old were immunized with Suduvax (Green Cross, South Korea). Fluorescent antibody to membrane antigen (FAMA) varicella-zoster virus (VZV) antibody was measured before and 6 weeks after immunization. In the case-based study, the median age of the patients was 4 years. Among 152 patients between 1 and 15 years of age, 139 children received varicella vaccine and all had breakthrough infections. Clinical courses were not ameliorated in vaccinated patients, but more vaccinated patients received outpatient rather than inpatient care. In the case-control study, the adjusted overall effectiveness of varicella vaccination was 54%. In the immunogenicity and safety study, the seroconversion rate and geometric mean titer for FAMA antibody were 76.67% and 5.31. Even with increasing varicella vaccine uptake, we illustrate no upward age shift in the peak incidence, a high proportion of breakthrough disease, almost no amelioration in disease presentation by vaccination, and insufficient immunogenicity of domestic varicella vaccine. There is need to improve the varicella vaccine used in South Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)762-768
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Vaccine Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


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