WALTON, Ky. (CBS Local) — The high school senior who went to court after he was barred from playing basketball because he wasn’t vaccinated against chickenpox has come down with the illness, his lawyer said Tuesday.
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 told The Cincinnati Enquirer.
An outbreak of 32 cases of the chickenpox at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, an elementary school, and Assumption Academy, a high school, had prompted the health department to ban all students without proof of immunity from the school for 21 days.
The schools are the educational institutions of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Walton. The church is part of the Society of St. Pius X, a conservative branch of Roman Catholicism that rejects Vatican II reforms.
Kunkel refused to get the chickenpox vaccine because it is made in cells replicated from the lungs of a fetus aborted in London in 1966.
“For the health department to say we have to get vaccines in order to go to school, that’s infringing upon my First Amendment right,” Kunkel told CBS affiliate WKRC.
After Kunkel was kept from playing basketball, he sued the Northern Kentucky Health Department in March. But a judge ruled in April that students who are not vaccinated can be banned from school and extracurricular activities.
Kunkel and two dozen other students who were also banned from school appealed the decision. The Kentucky Court of Appeals has yet to rule in the matter.