See this dummy? Imagine him covered in scabby blisters. That’s probably what he looked like the last few days, as he was recently infected with chickenpox. He got the infection because he refused to get the chickenpox vaccinations. That’s particularly poetic because when the local health department banned him from attending school because he was not vaccinated, he sued.
Following a chickenpox outbreak at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Assumption Academy private school in Walton, Kentucky, that began in February, Northern Kentucky Health Department barred all students who could not prove they’d been vaccinated against or were immune from, chickenpox. The announcement said the ban would extend until 21 days after the last ill staff member or teacher first shows signs of infection.
Immediately following the announcement, 18-year-old Jerome Kunkel and his family filed a lawsuit against the health department. The suit claimed the vaccine violated his religious beliefs because the cell line used as the base of the chickenpox vaccine was derived from fetuses that had been aborted. While the Catholic Church opposes abortion, it holds that Catholics are “morally free” to get chickenpox vaccines since there are no alternatives that are free of the “historical association with abortion.”
“It doesn’t matter to me if it was back in the 1960s,” Kunkel told the Cincinnati Enquirer, for a story about the lawsuit. “The Fifth Commandment says thou shalt not kill. Abortion goes directly against that.”
Wiest told NBC News that the Kunkel family regrets nothing. “From their perspective, they always recognized they were running the risk of getting it, and they were OK with it.” Wiest told NBC News.
“The ban was stupid,” Wiest added. “He could have contracted this in March and been back to school by now.”
Gizmodo asked Wiest if Kunkel or his family now felt that the ban was justified since Kunkel could have infected other students, and Wiest doubled-down.
“Of course they do not think the ban is, or was ever justified; this community all goes to church together for daily mass upstairs, while the school is downstairs in the same building,” Wiest told Gizmodo. “We told the Court on April 1 that the ban was not appropriate because it did nothing to prevent the spread of chickenpox, and would merely turn a few weeks of chickenpox cases into months of chickenpox cases.”
Wiest clarified he believes it’s better for all the students to get sick all at once and let the outbreak “runs its course.”
Let me be clear: This is idiotic. 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.
The Northern Kentucky Health Department seems to agree that Wiest is being idiotic.
“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,” Laura Brinson, a spokesperson for the Northern Kentucky Health Department, said in a statement, responding to Wiest’s reckless statements to the media.
“Wiest’s comments are dismissive of the severity of this virus, and his recent announcement that he is advising his clients to actively contract the virus so that they can become individually immune to it is deeply concerning to the Northern Kentucky Health Department,” Brinson said.
Wiest said that Kunkel has made a full recovery from chickenpox. Kunkel probably remains an idiot.