Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin revealed on Tuesday that he intentionally exposed all nine of his children to the chickenpox virus, in the hopes they would catch the disease and develop immunity. They did, indeed, catch the disease, and in what is the typical anecdotal way these anti-science Republicans attempt to smugly prove their rightness, Bevin claimed, "They were miserable for a few days, and they all turned out fine.”
Give that man the Father of the Year award STAT!
Here are the problems with that.
1. There is a vaccine for the chickenpox. It's been available since 1995.
2. Medical experts from the Mayo Clinic to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn against doing that, as it's extremely dangerous. There are serious complications, and fatalities that can result from contracting the disease. I mean, I could run across a train track as a train approaches and turn out fine, too, but it is still an extremely dangerous thing to do, and I would not tell my children to do it. They might come out fine from it, but they might die from it, too, oh my god why are we still having this conversation?
3. When you get a vaccination, you protect people around you who are medically unable to get the vaccination themselves. You're protecting the people around you. It's called "herd immunity." You know, should that matter to you at all.
But don't take my word for it. Here are what some actual doctors from respected medical science institutions had to say:
"I would never recommend or advise it," said Dr. Robert Jacobson, a pediatrician and expert in vaccines and childhood diseases at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "It's just dangerous."
"Chickenpox can be serious and can lead to severe complications and death, even in healthy children," according to the CDC website.
Dr. Ruth Carrico, an associate professor of infectious diseases at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, said chickenpox is often incorrectly viewed as a relatively harmless disease.
But it can be fatal to children and adults who suffer complications, she said. "On more than one occasion, I have had a patient who is a pregnant woman who became exposed to chickenpox and became ill and developed pneumonia," Carrico said. "Either she or her baby or both did not survive."
Dr. Dennis Clements, a professor of pediatrics and global health at Duke University who has written about the deliberate-exposure practice popular with some parents, said he strongly advises against it.
"A lot of parents do expose their children so they can get it and get it over with," Clements said. "The vaccine is much safer, and if the vaccine is given to a child, they are much less likely to have shingles as an adult."
Oh, and here's a fun fact about shingles that now all nine of Bevin's children are more likely to have since he made sure they got chickenpox! IT'S CONTAGIOUS! So, when they're an adult, and they get shingles, they can give CHICKENPOX to anyone who was unable to get the vaccine for whatever reasons! WHEEEEEEEEE!!!
From the National Institute of Health Website:
"Shingles (zoster) looks like chickenpox and is caused by the same virus. However, it usually appears on only one part of the body. Shingles occurs in people who have already had chickenpox, usually many years later.
Shingles is very contagious. You can catch chickenpox from someone with shingles through contact with their secretions or their skin rash."
But sure, Bevin. You know better than these actually scientifically educated and experienced doctors. I'm sure if/when one or more of your kids shows up with shingles in their 30s at your door, you'll be more than happy to pay for their healthcare.