I’ve long wondered why children in Britain generally don’t get the chickenpox vaccine. In an article describing a move by drugstores to offer the vaccine for a substantial fee, the BBC quotes the NHS:
The NHS said a chickenpox vaccine is not offered as part of routine immunisations as it would leave unvaccinated children more susceptible to contracting the virus as an adult.
There could also be a significant increase in shingles cases as being exposed to infected children boosts immunity to this.
This is like the cracked-mirror reflection of the usual herd-immunity argument for why, even if you don’t want vaccines for yourself or your children, you have a civic obligation to make yourself immune to avoid transmitting the virus to others. Here they say that children have a duty to suffer with an unpleasant disease, so that they can serve as walking virus reservoirs that will more efficiently infect other children, and boost the immunity of adults.
I suppose there’s a cost-benefit analysis somewhere that shows this is the cheapest approach. And I’d bet that the cost of children’s discomfort is set at zero.