A Catholic student who lost a lawsuit against the state of Kentucky after his school banned him for being unvaccinated just came down with chickenpox, proving irony isn’t dead and karma is real.
Okay, that karma bit isn’t true. But Jerome Kunkel, the 18-year-old student who sued the Northern Kentucky Health Department after state officials banned unvaccinated kids from school and extracurricular events, was diagnosed with the preventable disease.
[Attorney] Christopher Wiest of Covington said Jerome Kunkel, 18, got sick with chickenpox last week, nearly two months after the Northern Kentucky health department issued its order to control an outbreak at two small parochial schools in Boone County.
“He’s fine. He’s a little itchy,” Wiest said.
Nearly 90 percent of the schools’ students have religious exemptions against vaccinations. The exemption form warns that the health department can restrict school attendance in case of an infectious disease outbreak.
Chickenpox isn’t always dangerous, but when it is, it can be deadly. And that’s especially true for those who get chickenpox as adults, which Kunkel did because he never got the vaccine.
In a state like Kentucky, where even the governor has said he still lets his kids get chickenpox on purpose, prevention is incredibly important. Unfortunately for Kunkel, his “logic” is flawed when it comes to his own vaccine objections.
Kunkel, his classmates and their families object to the chickenpox vaccine because it is made in laboratory-generated cells taken from a fetus aborted in London in 1966.
The lawyer may be even more confused than the student.
Tuesday, Wiest said: “About half my clients have come down with it since we filed the case. … I flat-out told the moms and dads the quickest path to resolving this is having them contract chickenpox.” A bout with chickenpox confers immunity to the illness.
Wednesday, the health department expressed concern about Wiest’s observation, pointing out that people who contract chickenpox can expose others to the virus before the disease becomes apparent with its telltale skin eruptions.
“Encouraging the spread of an acute infectious disease in a community demonstrates a callous disregard for the health and safety of friends, family, neighbors, and unsuspecting members of the general public,” said a health department statement. “A person who has contracted chickenpox can be infectious for up to two days before experiencing the rash that is associated with the virus.
In other words, don’t catch the virus because it may hurt people who can’t receive the vaccine for medical reasons. But Kunkel’s earlier reaction shows just how little he and his family care for anyone other than themselves.
How many people have to be put in harm’s way before the state gets serious about vaccines?
(Featured screenshot via Cincinnati Enquirer)