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Teen Who Sued Over Ban of Unvaccinated Students Gets Chickenpox

09 May 2019

"From their perspective, they always recognised they were running the risk of getting it, and they were OK with it".

"For the health department to say we have to get vaccines in order to go to school, that's infringing upon my First Amendment right", Kunkel told CBS affiliate WKRC.

His school, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Assumption Academy, saw a chickenpox outbreak in March that led state health officials to order all unvaccinated students to remain at home.

Kunkel sued the Northern Kentucky Health Department in March after it ruled that all students at Sacred Heart Assumption Academy who hadn't been vaccinated against chickenpox could no longer come to classes amid an outbreak of the disease, which began in February and included 32 confirmed cases.

The views of Kunkel and his family are shared with other ultraconservative Catholics who refused to get vaccinated for chickenpox.

"These are deeply held religious beliefs, they're sincerely held beliefs", family attorney Christopher Wiest said.

"Today the Boone Circuit Court issued a decision upholding the Northern Kentucky District Health Department's statutory charge to protect the health and welfare of the community".

Kunkel claimed the vaccine is against his beliefs because he believes it's "derived from aborted fetal cells", and calls that "immoral, illegal, and sinful".

Despite picking up chickenpox, the teen's lawyer says Kunkel and his family don't regret the move.

Some religions are against the chickenpox vaccination because the initial vaccine was developed by scientists in the 1960s using matter from two aborted foetuses.

The ban applied to students who did not have proof of vaccination or proof of immunity, the suit said.

"Their ban didn't stop these kids from going to church together", Wiest said Wednesday.

"Recent news articles reporting statements by Chris Wiest, the plaintiffs' attorney, downplaying the dangers of the chickenpox virus are alarming and disappointing", Ms Brinson said. "A person who has contracted chickenpox can be infectious for up to 2 days before experiencing the rash that is associated with the virus".

Barring students from attending school and after-school activities can help prevent the spread of the disease.

"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". It is far safer to prevent people from getting the infection in the first place, and not risk infecting people who may be especially vulnerable to infection.

Chickenpox is a highly contagious virus that causes blisters, itching and fever, though it is generally not fatal. The virus spreads by contact with infected individuals.

Teen Who Sued Over Ban of Unvaccinated Students Gets Chickenpox