BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — In response to an unvaccinated Kentucky student suing his local health department after he was banned from attending school during a chickenpox outbreak, Governor Matt Bevin said he did not give his children the chickenpox vaccine.

Bevin said in an interview with The Morning Show on WKCT in Bowling Green that while parents who want to vaccinate their children should do what they want, parents should not "worry about what someone else is doing." Continuing, Bevin said he and his wife did not give their children the chickenpox vaccine, instead exposing them to a neighbor who had the disease.

"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 everyone of my kids was exposed to it, and they got it."

Bevin followed his comments by saying getting the disease naturally had "no long term repercussions," and that the government should not force people to get vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that while chickenpox is usually a mild disease, the vaccine gives children immunity from the disease without risk of any serious complications that could come from contracting chickenpox.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department defended its decision to bar students who were either not vaccinated or immune to the disease from school by saying it was a necessary decision to protect the public's heath.

"The recent actions taken by the Northern Kentucky Health Department regarding the chickenpox outbreak at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart/Assumption Academy was in direct response to a public health threat and was an appropriate and necessary response to prevent further spread of this contagious illness," the departments said in a statement.

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