A teenager who sued his school over chickenpox ban now has chickenpox.
What was the lawsuit?
The teen, Jerome Kunkel, made headlines earlier this year after suing the Kentucky Health Department. After an outbreak of chickenpox in a high school in Kentucky in March, the health department banned non-vaccinated students from attending class and extracurricular activities.
Kunkel sued the health department after being denied from his school’s basketball team as a result of the policy.
Kunkel’s family objects vaccines on moral standards. His father claims that the decision was a tyranny against their religion, faith, and country. He states that his son was penalized for being a healthy child and that he may never get chickenpox.
He now has chickenpox.
What happens next?
Kunkel’s lawyer, Christopher Wiest, states that Kunkel started showing signs of the disease last week. He hopes to recover by next week. Chickenpox typically lasts around 10-14 days.
Once he is no longer contagious and can show that his lesions have scabbed over, he will be able to return to school. He hasn’t attended school since March 15.
However, the family doesn’t regret the decision, saying they do not want to be vaccinated on religious grounds due to some vaccines deriving from legally aborted fetal cells. They consider this to be immoral and sinful.
Their attorney states that these are deep religious beliefs. From their perspective, they always recognized they were running the risk of getting it, and they were OK with it.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests against deliberately exposing children to chickenpox through “chickenpox parties,” which is an old way of attempting to manage the virus before the invention of the much safer vaccine.
The chicken pox vaccine began in the 1990s, so many parents will have grown up without it themselves. They are under the impression, if these “parties” worked for them, it will work for their children.
The CDC says that they strongly recommend against hosting or participating in these events. Chickenpox can be severe and can lead to severe complications and death, even in healthy children.