Kentucky teen who sued over vaccine gets chickenpox

Henrietta Brewer
May 9, 2019

"From their perspective, they always recognised they were running the risk of getting it, and they were OK with it". In April, he sued the health department because he was banned from school for refusing to get a vaccine.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department spokeswoman Laura Brinson criticised Mr Wiest's suggestion that the school should have encouraged students to contract chickenpox, labelling that idea "deeply concerning".

An unvaccinated northern Kentucky high school student who sued after being told he couldn't play basketball because he didn't have a chicken pox vaccine, has come down with the chicken pox.

Kunkel argued in the suit that he was being discriminated against because his religious beliefs do not allow chickenpox vaccinations. Two dozen other students who were banned during the chickenpox outbreak joined Kunkel's lawsuit.

"I don't believe in that vaccine at all and they are trying to push it on us", Kunkle's father, Bill, told WLWT.

But, his lawyer confirmed, he has now contracted chickenpox and will be free to return once his symptoms have cleared.

When the ban came into force, 32 cases of chickenpox had spread within the Catholic school, escalating the need to control the outbreak.

Kunkel claimed the vaccine was "derived from aborted fetal cells," which he considers "immoral illegal and sinful".

The legal action started after the Northern Kentucky Health Department excluded unvaccinated students from classes and activities such as sport, including basketball, in March.

"The ban was stupid", Wiest said.

It is understood 24 other students were banned during the chickenpox outbreak.

But for a lawyer - not a doctor - in 2019 to still be advocating this unsafe, outdated conduct to his clients is "alarming and disappointing", the Northern Kentucky Health Department says.

"Encouraging the spread of an acute infectious disease in a community demonstrates a callous disregard for the health and safety of friends, family, neighbours, and unsuspecting members of the general public", the department said in a statement. "A person who has contracted chickenpox can be infectious for up to 2 days before experiencing the rash that is associated with the virus".

The Kentucky high school senior at the center of a vaccination lawsuit has allegedly come down with the chicken pox. "Our first concern is always protection of the public health and implementing reasonable, medically-approved control measures that are created to safeguard our region's population, including those who are most vulnerable to the threat of infectious disease".

Chickenpox is a highly contagious virus that causes blisters, itching and fever, though it is generally not fatal.

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