When asked by radio host Laura Ingraham Monday about his views on vaccination, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said that while he is not “anti-vaccine” at all, he does think they should be voluntary, later going on to say that vaccines may lead to “mental disorders.”
The question was prompted by a recent measles outbreak that has infected more than 100 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 100 people have been diagnosed with measles, with the majority of cases stemming from an outbreak linked to a Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California, that likely originated with an overseas traveler who was unvaccinated, the agency said. The CDC said also said most of the people who were infected were unvaccinated.
The outbreak has reignited the debate over the safety of vaccinations.
When asked about the remarks later on CNBC, Mr. Paul said, “Well, I guess being for freedom would be really unusual — I guess I don’t understand the point why that would be controversial.”
He went on to express some concern over the safety of vaccines.
“I’ve heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines,” he said on CNBC. “I’m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea — I think they’re a good thing. But I think the parent[s] should have some input — the state doesn’t own your children; parents own the children and it is an issue of freedom.”
The measles vaccine, known as MMR, is more than 99 percent effective at preventing the measles, says the CDC. The agency recommends that children get two doses of the vaccine; the first at 12 through 15 months of age and the second between the ages of 4 years and 6 years.