Will you choose a vaccine or a party? A chicken pox party (where you intentionally expose your child to chicken pox) has some benefits but they don’t outweigh the strengths of a vaccine that can prevent you from ever having to deal with chicken pox.

Generally a chicken pox party is for those who don’t believe or agree with vaccinations and would rather be exposed to the full-blown disease than receive a vaccination that may have some side effects. Some go as far as sending their infection through the mail if they can’t make the party, which is illegal. Not to mention, this is not only affecting those its sent to but potentially anyone in between too.

The list of risk factors of contracting the disease through a pox party is longer compared to that of the vaccine. Current evidence suggests that the likelihood of contracting shingles after receiving the vaccine is less common compared to contracting it with the natural infection of the virus. Although uncommon, if the disease is contracted after receiving the vaccine it is less severe compared to the natural way of contracting it. This also goes for any side effects that may occur from the vaccine.

The CDC says not to take the chance on chicken pox parties. They also say the vaccine is the best way to prevent contracting the disease. Before the vaccine, 4 million people contracted chicken pox with 10,600 people hospitalized and 100-150 lives lost from the disease each year.

While the benefits of a chicken pox party are only theorized, the risks are solid. A chicken pox party not only exposes your own child to the disease but it has the potential to expose someone who is immunocompromised or otherwise cannot receive the vaccine. If you’ve had chicken pox, you know it’s no joy ride. Why not prevent it with a vaccine?