Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin says he has exposed his children to chicken pox instead of getting them vaccinated


Kentucky governor Matt Bevin said he had deliberately exposed his children to chickenpox, instead of vaccinating them against the current childhood illness. Addressing local radio station WKCT on Tuesday, Bevin said his nine children were suffering from chicken pox.

"They had chickenpox on purpose," said Bevin, "because we found a neighbor who had it, and I went to ensure that all my children were exposed to it, and they got it. " Bevin and his wife, Glenna, have five biological and four adopted children.

So called parts of chickenpox have been popping up across the United States for years. Parents sometimes deliberately expose their children to other children with chickenpox, hoping they will catch the virus and become immune. The idea is that most children recover quickly and that the disease can be much more serious if they catch it in adulthood. But experts say that a safer and better way to get immunized against chicken pox is to get vaccinated.

The CDC recommends that children receive the first dose of the vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose at 4 to 6 years of age. The vaccine was introduced for the first time in 1995, and health officials say chicken pox decreased by 85 percent in the United States since 2006, when physicians began to systematically recommend a second dose of vaccine.

It is not known at what age the Bevin children were infected with the virus, but he admitted that the disease was not just a walk in the park. The governor told the WKCT that his children were "miserable for a few days" after contracting chickenpox, but he added "they all did well."

Public health authorities have strongly discouraged the practice of deliberately exposing children to chicken pox for immunity.

"It's unfortunate and it's not an example for anyone," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, at the Associated Press agency. . "We should vaccinate all our children.It is a great triumph of public health in the US.Do not step back."

Schaffner pointed out that there could be potentially serious complications of chickenpox. According to the CDC, complications can include bacterial infections, pneumonia and encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Even though most healthy children do not experience these problems, others, including infants, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for serious illness. The widespread use of the vaccine creates a collective immunity, which helps to protect the most vulnerable.

Bevin said Tuesday that parents worried about chickenpox should vaccinate their children. He suggested, however, that the government should not impose vaccination.

"Why are we forcing children to get it?" Said Bevin. "If you're worried about your child catching chicken pox or anything else, get him vaccinated … And in many cases, these vaccinations are quite logical, but for some people, and for some parents, they choose otherwise. " His comments to the WKCT followed reports of a outbreak of chickenpox at a Catholic school in Kentucky this week.

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Kentucky law requires that children be vaccinated against chicken pox before entering kindergarten. Parents may request religious exemptions or provide proof that a child is already suffering from the disease, reports the AP.

The symptoms of chickenpox are: itching, rash, fatigue and fever. According to the CDC, two doses of varicella vaccine are more than 90 percent effective in preventing chickenpox.

"When you get vaccinated, you protect yourself and others in your family and community, which is particularly important for people who can not get vaccinated, such as those with weakened immune systems. or pregnant women, "according to the CDC website.


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