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Are you ready to
Stop the Spots’?

Chickenpox is a common childhood disease, estimated to infect over 90% of the UK population1 – with far-reaching impacts on UK families, the NHS, and wider society.

This doesn’t have to be the case: Join the campaign and ‘Stop the Spots’ with us.

Stop the Spots is a public health campaign aiming to raise awareness for the consideration of a National Immunisation Programme to prevent chickenpox in the UK.

This website is produced and funded by MSD.

Why ‘Stop the Spots’?

About the Stop the Spots campaign

Chickenpox is a mild disease for most, but still has a material impact on children, families, the NHS and the economy.

This impact can be mitigated against: chickenpox has been a vaccine-preventable disease for over thirty years,2 but the UK is yet to introduce a National Immunisation Programme for chickenpox.

Stop the Spots is a public health campaign aiming to raise awareness for the consideration of a National Immunisation Programme to prevent chickenpox in the UK.

Against a backdrop of severe and long-lasting repercussions for both children and the NHS caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important now than ever that the UK ‘Stops the Spots’ by putting in place a chickenpox National Immunisation Programme.

How will you help to ‘Stop the Spots’?

Why do we need to ‘Stop the Spots’?

Although the UK’s focus remains on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also continue to focus on our routine childhood immunisation schedule.

It is important that the UK’s childhood immunisation schedule includes every available tool to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases and their burdens.

A chickenpox programme would help to reduce the pressure on the NHS and improve the protection for children from a common virus.

Children across the UK, and our NHS, should not have to wait any longer. The time to act on chickenpox – and ‘Stop the Spots’ – is now.

What is the burden of chickenpox on UK families and the NHS?

Chickenpox can have a significant impact on families and the NHS. In the UK, there are over 650,000 UK cases of chickenpox each year,3 leading to around 5,600 hospitalisations,4 125,000 GP appointments in 2016/17,5 and an average of 18.5 deaths from 2004/05 to 2013/14.6

The wider burden of chickenpox is often underestimated by parents. A 2019 survey of more than 1,700 UK parents found that:7

School absence

On average each child with chickenpox misses 5.5 days of school due to chickenpox – every extra school day missed was associated with a lower educational attainment for children at Key Stage 2.8


50% of children with chickenpox had to visit their GP, and a third of these saw the GP more than once. Nearly 20% had more serious consequences which required antibiotics, time in hospital, and left scarring that may impact their future.

Family income

Parents lost on average £493 in income and £146.50 in other associated costs per child who had chickenpox, with women, single parents and lower-income families bearing the brunt of chickenpox’s wider societal impacts.

UK economy

Recent research commissioned by MSD from the London School of Economics estimates that lost productivity driven by parents taking time off work to care for children with chickenpox costs the UK economy at least £24 million every year.9

How can the impact of chickenpox be reduced?

The UK has a reputation across the globe for having a world-leading immunisation system, as demonstrated through the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

However, chickenpox is one of the areas where the UK lags behind other countries. 35+ countries have introduced a chickenpox National Immunisation Programme as part of their childhood immunisation schedules.10,11

Read below to find out how each country has benefited:


Following the CDC’s recommendation in 1996, there was a 97% estimated reduction in newly reported chickenpox cases in 2013–2014 compared to 1993–1995. Hospitalisations and deaths from chickenpox have also fallen substantially, and were 86%–93% and 87% respectively lower in 2013/14 than 1993–1995.12


In 2015, mathematical modelling based on 11 years of surveillance data, predicted an 89% decrease in chickenpox cases since the start of routine childhood immunisation against chickenpox in 2004.13


Following the introduction of routine childhood immunisation, chickenpox-related hospitalisations reduced by 72.5% for children aged 1–4 years.14

Why doesn’t the UK have a chickenpox programme?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – the body that recommends whether or not the UK should introduce new vaccines – last reviewed the potential introduction of a chickenpox programme in 2010.15

The need to consider introducing a chickenpox programme has been discussed by the JCVI.

However, a lack of modelling capacity needed to make a decision has been a challenge since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and has blocked the JCVI from progressing its discussions.16–18

How can you help?

How can you advocate for a National Immunisation Programme for chickenpox? Click the drop-down menu below to find out.

MP or Peer

Tabling Parliamentary Questions…

exploring how the Government intends to enhance the protection offered to children from the range of vaccine-preventable childhood diseases, including chickenpox.

Writing to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care

to highlight the barriers currently hindering the UK’s introduction of a chickenpox National Immunisation Programme, and the urgent need to address these as children continue to navigate the consequences of COVID-19.

Member of the public

Write to your MP

encouraging them to advocate for a chickenpox National Immunisation Programme in Parliament. If applicable, detail your, or your family’s, experience with chickenpox and how it has affected you. You can find the contact details for your MP here.

Follow us

Check out our social media for updates on our campaigns.

After visiting this site, are you supportive of a National Immunisation Programme for chickenpox?


GB-NON-05793 | Date of Preparation: May 2022