Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said in an interview Tuesday that he purposefully exposed his nine unvaccinated children to chicken pox so that they would become immune. “Every single one of my kids had the chickenpox,” Bevin said. “They got the chickenpox on purpose because we found a neighbor that had it and I went and made sure every one of my kids was exposed to it, and they got it. They had it as children. They were miserable for a few days, and they all turned out fine.” The governor’s approach is medically unsound and can be dangerous, according to experts. “I would never recommend or advise it,” said Dr. Robert Jacobson, a pediatrician and expert in vaccines and childhood diseases at the Mayo Clinic. “It’s just dangerous.”
In the interview, Bevin also suggested that the government should stay out of mandating vaccines. In Kentucky, varicella (chicken pox) is among vaccines mandated for all children entering kindergarten, though parents may seek religious exemptions or provide medical proof that a child has already had the disease.