- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Former Secretary of State and potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has waded into the renewed debate this week over vaccines, saying the “science is clear” and that they work — and appearing to mock people who think otherwise.

“The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccineswork. Let’s protect all our kids. #GrandmothersKnowBest,” Mrs. Clinton tweeted lateMonday.

Her most recent comment notwithstanding, while running for president in 2008 Mrs. Clinton wrote in a questionnaire from an autism advocacy group that she was “committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines” in response to the question “Do you think vaccines should be investigated as a possible cause of autism?”

A causal link between vaccines and autism has been debunked by organizations such as the Institute of Medicine.

A few potential 2016 GOP contenders have weighed in on the matter as well, as the Obama administration encourages parents to vaccinate their children in the wake of a measles outbreak that’s been linked to the Disneyland theme park.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, told reporters Tuesday he thinks all children in the country should be vaccinated and said there is “absolutely no medical science or data what so ever that links those vaccinations to onset of autism or anything of that nature.”

“Unless their immune [system is] suppressed, obviously, for medical exceptions, but I believe that all children, as is the law in most states in this country, before they can even attend school, have to be vaccinated for a certain panel,” Mr. Rubio said, according to NBC News.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that while he vaccinates his own children, parents should to have a measure of choice on the matter. His office later followed up by saying Mr. Christie believes they’re an important public health protection and there is “no question” kids should be vaccinated for a disease like measles, but that different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for a balance.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, said Tuesday “of course” children should be vaccinated but that requirements should be decided at the state level.

“Nobody reasonably thinks Chris Christie is opposed to vaccinating kids other than a bunch of reporters who want to write headlines,” Mr. Cruz said, Politico reported.

In a statement, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday urged all parents to get vaccinated and said he thinks it’s “irresponsible for leaders to undermine the public’s confidence in vaccinations that have been tested and proven to protect public health.”

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, had said in a radio interview with Laura Ingraham on Monday that for the most part vaccines should be voluntary, and said on CNBC that he’s heard of cases of normal children winding up with mental disorders after vaccines.

“I’m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea — I think they’re a good thing,” Mr. Paul said on CNBC. “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.”

In a statement to The Hill, retired neurosurgeon and possible 2016 candidate Ben Carson said that while he strongly believes in individual rights and the rights of parents, public health and public safety are “extremely important” in our society.

“Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them,” he said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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