Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin says he exposed his 9 children to chickenpox instead of vaccinating them
The governor did this despite a strong warning by health experts, including the CDC, against exposing children to chickenpox in efforts to immunize them
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin on Tuesday revealed that he intentionally exposed his nine children to chickenpox instead of vaccinating them against the disease. The Republican made the statement while talking to a Bowlin Green talk radio station.
"Every single one of my kids had the chickenpox,” Bevin told WKCT. "They got the chickenpox on purpose because we found a neighbor that had it and I went and made sure every one of my kids was exposed to it, and they got it. They had it as children. They were miserable for a few days, and they all turned out fine," The Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
The governor did this despite a strong warning by health experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), against exposing children to chickenpox in efforts to immunize them.
According to the CDC: "Chickenpox can be serious and can lead to severe complications and death, even in healthy children. There is no way to tell in advance how severe your child’s symptoms will be. So it is not worth taking the chance of exposing your child to someone with the disease. The best way to protect infants and children against chickenpox is to get them vaccinated."
Bevin also said that he does not think vaccines should be mandated by the government in the country because "this is America."
"If you are worried about your child getting chickenpox or whatever else, vaccinate your child," the governor said. "But for some people, and for some parents, for some reason, they choose otherwise. This is America. The federal government should not be forcing this upon people. They just shouldn’t."
The governor's remarks came shortly after a chickenpox outbreak was reported at a Kentucky Catholic school this week, where some parents had opted to not immunize their children, according to reports.
Children in Kentucky are required to be vaccinated for chickenpox before entering kindergarten. However, parents can seek religious exemptions or provide medical documentation that their child has already had the disease.
The United States witnessed a sharp decline in the number of infections, hospitalizations, and death caused by chickenpox after the vaccine for the disease became widely available in the country in 1995.
A certain section of people in the United States are wary of vaccinations and have increasingly refused to vaccinate their children, leading in fresh cases of major measles outbreaks in states like Washington and Oregon. The World Health Organization named vaccine hesitancy as one of the top threats to global health in 2019.