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". "They had it as children".
The chicken pox vaccine was introduced in the U.S.in 1995. Prior to its introduction, 4 million people were infected each year, according to the Immunization Action Coalition. Two doses of the chickenpox vaccine is more than 90 percent effective at preventing chickenpox, the CDC says.
Bevin said he supports parents who choose to vaccinate their children, as well as those who choose not to. Because of this, many children who are now in their 30s grew up without the vaccine and likely contracted chicken pox as kids. "There's no way to know who will have a serious case".
"What the governor and other like-minded folks are unaware of is that there are potentially serious complications of chickenpox", he warned.
The Republican governor said Tuesday that parents anxious about chickenpox should have their children vaccinated.
"Why are we forcing kids to get it [the chickenpox vaccine]?" he said.
"Every single one of my kids had the chickenpox", Bevin said in the interview.
The CDC recommends protecting infants and children by getting them vaccinated. And in many instances, those vaccinations make great sense. "I really recommend to my parents that they vaccinate their children, that they do it in a timely manner, and they recognize they are doing the right thing for their children".
The chickenpox vaccine is required for kids enrolling in kindergarten in Kentucky, the Courier-Journal reports. The governor instituted an online form in June 2017 that can be downloaded, notarized and sent into the school without any health care provider involvement.
Religious exemptions were up 59 percent in the state since the new rule, Kentucky Health News reported in December 2018.
The governor's comments are the latest fueling a divisive national debate around school vaccination requirements and whether they should be mandated at the state and local levels. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/Assumption Academy in Walton, Kentucky, instituted the rule after dozens of children became sick with the disease.