Gov. Exposed Kids to Chickenpox

Henrietta Strickland
March 24, 2019

"Every single one of my kids had the chickenpox", Gov. Matt Bevin said Tuesday on radio station WKCT, according to the Associated Press.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns against intentionally exposing children to chickenpox, and that the disease "can be serious and can lead to severe complications and death, even in healthy children". Parents sometimes deliberately expose their children to other kids with chickenpox, hoping they catch the virus and therefore become immune. The agency also said that vaccination helps protect the community, including people who can not get vaccinated. Two doses are now recommended: one at 1 year of age and a second around 4.

The chicken pox vaccine first became commercially available in 1984, though it was not widely enforced or marketed in the first few years. "If you are anxious about your child getting chickenpox or whatever else, vaccinate your child". But he suggested that government shouldn't mandate the vaccination.

Religious exemptions were up 59 percent in the state since the new rule, Kentucky Health News reported in December 2018. "Let's not take a step backward", Schaffner told the AP. "When your child gets the chickenpox shots, he or she is getting immunity from chickenpox without the risk of serious complications of the disease".

"Why are we forcing kids to get it [the chickenpox vaccine]?" he said. Widespread use of the vaccine creates herd immunity, which helps protect those who are most vulnerable.

"I would never recommend or advise it", said Dr Robert Jacobson, a paediatrician and expert in vaccines and childhood diseases.

Bevin said he believes parents should be given the choice whether to vaccinate their children. "But for some people, and for some parents, for some reason they choose otherwise".

Bevin's comments followed reports this week of a chickenpox outbreak at a Kentucky Catholic school. Only about 500,000 per year now get the disease, and hospitalizations were cut by as much as 90 percent, according to the CDC.

While most people who contract the disease recover without lasting effects, the disease can cause devastating impacts to certain individuals including those with a weakened immune system.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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