Politics

Rand Paul Backs Vaccines, But Says They Can Cause 'Profound Mental Disorders'

| by Edward Arnold

Vaccines have now become political. From right to left, lawmakers have been answering the simple question: should the government require children to be vaccinated?

On Sunday, President Obama sent a clear message, get your kids vaccinated. On Monday, Sen. Rand Paul took a slightly different view in an interview with CNBC.

"I’m not arguing vaccines are a bad idea,” Paul said. “I think they’re a good thing. But I think the parent should have some input. The state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children."

Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, views the issue of mandatory vaccination as a freedom issue. He takes the position that the government shouldn't force parents to get their kids vaccinated.

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"I think vaccines are one of the greatest medical breakthroughs that we had. I’m a big fan," he said. "But for most of our history, they have been voluntary. So I don’t think I’m arguing for anything out of the ordinary."

Vaccines have been a controversial topic this past week since the recent outbreak of measles beginning in California. Now, there are more than 100 cases in 14 states. Controversy has erupted from an anti-vaccine movement based on the disproved notion that vaccines could cause autism.

"I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines," Paul said.

Senator Paul's views, while acknowledging the success of vaccination, continues to believe that the individual freedom of choice is paramount. Sergio Gor, Paul's campaign spokesman, further explained Senator Paul's views to CNN.

"Dr. Paul believes that vaccines have saved lives, and should be administered to children. His children were all vaccinated. He also believes many vaccines should be voluntary and like most medical decisions, between the doctor and the patient, not the government," Sergio Gor wrote in an email. 

Sources: CNBC, Talking Points Memo, CNN / Photo Credit: VICE