Kentucky Governor Exposes His Children To Chicken Pox

Kentucky Governor Exposes His Children To Chicken Pox

Kentucky Governor Exposes His Children To Chicken Pox

You can file this one under “educated but insanely stupid”. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has admitted that he intentionally exposed his children to Chicken Pox. The father of nine children and governor of a state exposed his children to a deadly childhood disease rather than vaccinate them.

NBC News reported that Governor Bevin made this claim in a radio interview:

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says he deliberately exposed his children to chickenpox so they would catch the highly contagious disease and become immune.

During a Tuesday interview on Bowling Green radio station WKCT, Bevin said his children were “miserable for a few days” after contracting chickenpox but said “they all turned out fine.”

Bevin and his wife, Glenna, have nine children, four adopted.

The Republican governor said parents worried about chickenpox should have their children vaccinated. But he said government shouldn’t mandate the vaccination.

I know that you are all out there thinking, “Well, it is Kentucky!”. They have the vaccine in Kentucky. As a matter of fact the state mandates the chicken pox vaccine, among other vaccinations, before kindergarten. And, all nine of the children turned out fine? Thank God.

The Washington Post had a few more details on Governor Bevin’s private pox party:

“We found a neighbor that had it,” the first-term governor said. “And I went and made sure every one of my kids was exposed to it and they got it. And they had it as children, they were miserable for a few days, and they all turned out fine.”

I remember those bad old days before the vaccine. There were chicken pox parties and, horror of horrors, an infected lollipop that was passed around. And, why did he make “sure every one” of one of his kids was exposed? Chicken pox is highly contagious and siblings living in the same home are very likely to expose each other. I infested (joke) my younger sister. It happens. What did Bevin do? Did he drag each child over separately and rub them up against the oozing blisters of the neighbor’s child? That just sounds so … ignorant.

Republican Governor Bevan thinks that parents should have the option of vaccinating their children but that the state should not mandate it. Are you freaking kidding me? As a society, we agree to certain things: We obey the laws. We keep our lawns mowed. We have insurance if we drive a car. And we bloody freaking get our kids immunized. I am going to make an outrageous statement here:

Vaccines against contagious diseases are some of the greatest discoveries of mankind in the world ever!

Here are some statistics from the WaPo article just for chicken pox:

Before the chickenpox vaccine debuted in 1995, about 4 million Americans were infected with chickenpox, also known as varicella, every year, according to the CDC. Of that group, 10,500 to 13,000 people were hospitalized and 100 to 150 people died, the CDC said. But those statistics decreased sharply in the years after the introduction of the vaccine: The prevalence of chickenpox has decreased by an estimated 79 percent, according to a CDC study of 31 states between 2000 and 2010. In the two four-year periods the CDC studied before and after the vaccine was introduced, deaths went down 87 percent. In children and adults younger than 20, deaths declined by 99 percent over the same period, between 2008 and 2011 compared to 1990 to 1994.

You can argue about individual anecdotal cases, but the Centers for Disease Control is a pretty reliable government agency and their statistics see reasonable. Here is a video from Lee Health that has a reasonable, straightforward explanation:

Even more disturbing about this supposedly educated man is that he spreads misinformation. Again from the WaPo article:

Asked about Bevin’s assertion that people who get vaccinated are less protected against the disease than those who get it on their own and are then organically immune, Teutsch said he did not know where the governor was getting his facts.

Where does one even get misinformation like that to spread?

It’s really disappointing that the Kentucky Governor, who is educated and who has experts who can educate him at his beck and call, instead has chosen to spread old wives’ tales and deliberately false information. Like I said, educated but insanely stupid.

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of State/Photo in Public Domain

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  • His__Highness says:

    Anyone who would do what the governor has done is guilty of child abuse. His children should be in the custody of Child Protective Services.

    • Muns says:


    • grayswindir says:

      Well, given that that was the advice my kids pediatrician gave us, I don’t see how it qualifies as child abuse.

      She was involved in the trials of the vaccine, her concern was that based on the results she believed a booster shot will be needed. (Maybe they already are now…?). And folks are notoriously bad at keeping up on their booster shots. Her fear is that we’ve moved a lot of folks from having chicken pox as a kid when it is much less serious, to having it as adults. The disease is far more serious to have as an adult than as a child.

      Time will tell if she was right.

  • GWB says:

    exposed his children to a deadly childhood disease rather than vaccinate them
    I’m only gonna make the one comment here.
    You do realize this is exactly what a vaccine is, right?
    The only differences are scientists weaken (and sometimes kill) the virus before they expose you to it, and they try to control the dosage.

    (Not an anti-vaxxer. Just pro-correct-understanding.)

    • Phred says:

      The vaccine is a weakened form of the virus – enough to trigger a natural immune response but not enough to cause the disease. In rare cases, the vaccine does not always work, but a simple blood test can tell you if it hasn’t and it can be given again.

      The Governor is an idiot. If vaccines are a bad idea, why does every physician I know, and I know hundreds, vaccinate their own children?

  • Janet A. Roesler says:

    What a maroon. Now, unless as adults his children get the shingles VACCINE, statistically three of his nine offspring will later in life get the shingles, a hell worse than chickenpox. They can thank Daddy for that. And the vaccine isn’t 100% effective; they can still get the shingles anyway.

    • Did he also keep his children in quarantine, and he and his wife refrain from touching any other adult while they were shedding the virus?

      My daughter came home with chickenpox just about exactly one year before the vaccine was released. I called my mother, and she was PRETTY sure that I’d had it as a child.

      One time that my mother had to be completely and absolutely wrong. Three months of being essentially worthless, and never again back to the stamina I had before.

  • Suburbanbanshee says:

    Um… You do know they still make chickenpox vaccine from the same old aborted baby fibroblasts from the 1960’s. Not a big secret.

    Now, granted, that is remote participation with evil. And it is acceptable to choose remote participation, seeing as how there are no murder-free chickenpox vaccine lines… But it is also acceptable not to try to keep kids safe by remotely using murdered fetuses as immortal zombie tools.

    If I had kids, I don’t know what I would choose. I had chickenpox back when the vaccine was still in testing.

  • Irobot says:

    I’m with GWB on this one. Before the vaccine was available there would be outbreaks of Chickenpox at schools so it was hard to avoid catching it. When my nephew caught it my wife took our children over to visit so they could catch it too so she could get the sickness out of the way. It worked to a point. The all caught it but not at the same time so my wife had three children down with the pox consecutively. They all survived. I am not an anti-vaxxer either. In fact, we will both be getting booster shots before we visit the States later in the year. Our daughter lives in Seattle and is due with her first child so there is no way we will not be vaccinated. She knows the value of vaccines and can’t believe the anti-vaxxer’s position.

  • Bill Cook says:

    And now, his children are at risk for shingles later in life. What a clever guy.

  • Wayne says:

    Normally to see such ignorance on this topic, I have to visit the open thread on Instapundit. “Educated but insanely stupid?” That describes your entire article and all the comments except Suburbanbanshee. Varicella, rubella, and Hep A vaccines are ALL produced using cell lines from aborted babies. This makes them anathema to anyone who is pro-life.

    Second, exposed his children to “a deadly childhood disease?” It’s *$&@%+ chicken pox! Not Ebola, not smallpox, not diphtheria. Nobody in America dies of chicken pox. Risk of shingles is much higher for the vaccinated since the vaccine does not provide lifelong protection.

    He made a wise choice in the best interest of his kids. They’ll be fine. You people are going guano loco over the CHICKEN POX! Why aren’t you worried about typhus in LA, or hundreds of thousands of deaths annually due to adverse drug reactions and medical errors?

    • SDN says:

      Sorry, Wayne, but NOTHING provides lifelong immunity. Immunity to a disease decreases over time since exposure, whether natural or vaccine; there are blood tests which prove it. You should ask your doctor to give you one.

    • GWB says:

      not smallpox
      This is an important point. Smallpox actually is a “deadly disease”. And was mostly eradicated by the introduction of the vaccine.

      Nobody in America dies of chicken pox
      That is not true. Heck, people die from contracting the flu on occasion. But it is a tremendously small number, comparatively speaking. According to the numbers above, only ~0.3% even end up in the hospital, and only ~0.003% are fatal.*

      My problem is not with the vaccine itself. It’s with the “OMG, we’re all going to die if you don’t vaccinate your kids!” attitude that the gov’t indoctrinates.** Chickenpox is a major inconvenience, but not generally life-threatening in a country with civilized, non-socialized medicine. If vaccination helps keep that major inconvenience at bay, then great! But don’t make it into smallpox or polio to drive some sense of urgency.

      (* For comparison, 0.003% works out to less than a single grain of white, long grain rice in an entire 1lb bag. [There are supposedly 29,000 in 1lb.])

      (** Anyone still fighting against the HPV vaccine? You know, the one that protects your daughters from a virus they can really only catch from sexual activity, while the vaccine is being pushed on 8yos? Because we’re all scared of cancer?)

  • cthulhu says:

    Not to put to fine a point on this, but this was commonly done in the 60’s. Chicken pox is mostly an annoyance to pre-teens, but potentially life-threatening to adults. In lieu of vaccination, youngsters were often sent to play with symptomatic individuals. I, myself, had mumps and chicken-pox in the course of eight weeks, and have perpetual immunity for both.

  • HolyCow says:

    The “pox party,” the governor had his kids handle rattlesnakes and kids them. One small bite and no more rattlesnake allergy! It all makes perfect sense.

  • I have a relative who had to suffer Shingles. I myself went through Chicken Pox and the question of Shingles is one that I have to address and worry about. While Chicken Pox itself is hardly the most pressing medical matter, it doesn’t mean that we have to choose between a vaccine for it and vaccines for even worse diseases.

    Heck, this isn’t even about whether parents should be made to have their kids get vaccinations no matter what or if parents ought to be given full freedom do decide if their kids are kept vulnerable to whatever disease or not. This is about one man’s choice regarding his own kids, and what that choice says about him as a father.

  • Micha Elyi says:

    Kentucky, not California. I’ll say it again just to make it clear, Kentucky, not California.

    If only California had a wall to keep crazies like Kentuckians and others from points East out of the Golden State. Alas, all we’ve had are those ineffectual part-time agricultural inspection stations–they only keep the minor pests out.

    • Scott says:

      How about a wall with mexico to keep all the illegals with their third world diseases out?? or maybe a wall to keep californians in, so they don’t spread “the stoopid” to the rest of the country???

  • SDN says:

    “the Centers for Disease Control is a pretty reliable dishonest and politics driven government agency ”

    See their work on gun control, climate change, etc.

    • Matthew W says:

      It’s incredibly easy to bust the “science” on gun control and climate change, but impossible to do on vaccinations.

      • GWB says:

        The problem, IMO, is that they treat this with the same urgency as … well, everything else: it’s somehow an existential crisis. When you treat gun control, anthropogenic climate change, chickenpox, influenza, and smallpox all with the same level of urgency (and legitimacy), you discredit yourself on pretty much ALL of those topics. Regardless of how right you might be on any one or more of them.

        (This is especially true when you then treat ebola as if it’s no big deal. Oy vey.)

      • SDN says:

        But it isn’t hard, on any of those subjects, to exaggerate the benefits and minimize the downsides.

  • Ragin' Dave says:

    Count me in with Wayne and Suburbanbanshee on this. It’s the chicken pox. If you get them as a kid, your chance of dying from it is pretty much zero. The governor didn’t do anything that Americans haven’t been doing since, oh, FOREVER, and somehow we managed to survive just fine. I’m not anti-vax, but the hysterics over a guy making sure his kids had chickenpox early is way overblown. It’s not the mumps, it’s not measles, it’s not whooping cough, it’s not any of the other diseases that can kill you rather quickly, it’s the chicken pox.

    Have we grown so forgetful as a nation that we can’t even remember what life was like in the 80’s?

  • Mark says:

    Well, sometimes the governor’s theory works. If he exposes himself to and contracts rabies I guarantee he’ll never get it again.

    • Suburbanbanshee says:

      I am trying to think of how many people I know, who had chickenpox as kids, and who then caught shingles. I know my dad had a case, and maybe I have heard of two other men his age. And that is it.

      Shrug. It is not pleasant, of course. But it is not common — even in the old days, it was somewhat unusual to catch both in a lifetime.

  • Ozark PIneKnot says:

    I wonder if the “Oh, so smart” governor is aware he has probably guaranteed that several of his children will suffer through shingles as adults, due to his ignorant actions. Perfect example of a politician.

  • GroupHug says:

    Reads like this was knocked out after a book club: Group think, To much booze ( wine incl.), Regional stereortypes ( only in jest) and a Big giant hug for Big giant bueraucracies Big giant reassurances and promises.
    Step off the Smoky Mountain trails and hike into the Towns and Cities. How different do you think NC and TN are from KY? From OH,FL,WV,PA,GA?

  • Steve Kellmeyer says:

    “Vaccinating one-year-olds against chickenpox could temporarily nearly double the incidence of shingles in the wider population, but in younger adults than previously thought.”

  • Stacy says:

    I’m just curious how many conservatives realize that the Varicella vaccine contains aborted baby cells in it? If I had known, my youngest and I would’ve been exposed to chickenpox rather than getting the shot. I’m not anti-vaccine but I am against using the cells of dead babies!

  • Tom D Perkins says:

    ” his children to a deadly childhood disease ”

    Do you have chickenpox confused with smallpox?

  • DeLene says:

    I hate that a republican did this as it is embarrassing. He risked his children and his future. Chicken Pox may not be smallpox. But almost all people who get end up with scars but that’s not a problem to anti-vaxers. Growing up pre-vaccine, some people got very sick and some died. Possible problems after catching chicken pox include : Bacterial infections of the skin, soft tissues, bones, joints or bloodstream (sepsis); Dehydration; Pneumonia; Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis); Toxic shock syndrome and Reye’s syndrome in children and teenagers who take aspirin during chickenpox. Some of these can cause death.
    Shingles is nothing to laugh at. Everyone one I know that has had it missed work and was in pain for weeks. If it gets in the eyes you can lose your sight. You can’t get shingles unless you have chicken pox.

    • GWB says:

      almost all people who get end up with scars
      Everything else you talk about is overblown. Take a good look at the numbers above, again. They are PRE-vaccine. 0.003%.

  • Suburbanbanshee says:

    Well, certainly scarring is a possibility. But I had chickenpox all over my torso and arms and legs, and so did my brothers, and none of us got scars. Heck, not even the brother who kept scratching when he was not supposed to. I literally do not know anybody, among my agemates in school, who had even a tiny chickenpox scar. You have to be very unlucky to get scarring.

  • Suburbanbanshee says:

    The real downside is that it I go to space for an extended period, NASA now says there is a big chance of having the virus wake up and give me shingles. But that would possibly apply to vaccinated persons also… You just cannot win.

  • […] Kentucky Governor Exposes His Children To Chicken Pox You can file this one under “educated but insanely stupid”. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has admitted that he intentionally exposed his children to Chicken Pox. The father of nine children and governor of a state exposed his children to a deadly childhood disease rather than vaccinate them. […]

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