According to the Associated Press, House Speaker John Boehner says that “all children ought to be vaccinated.”
When asked about the role for Congress on the issue, Boehner said,
“I don’t know that we need another law but I do believe that all children ought to be vaccinated.”
The debate among politicians whether children should be vaccinated takes place amid a measles outbreak in the U.S.
In an interview with CNBC, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) held that, “while vaccines have been one of the greatest medical breakthroughs in U.S. history, they should be voluntary.”
He argued that the state should not be involved.
“The state doesn’t own your children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom and public health.”
The Kentucky senator specifically took issue with the Hepatitis B vaccine and giving children multiple vaccines at once.
“I’ve heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines,” he said.
Similarly, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that parents should have “a measure of choice” in the matter, though his office later clarified that there is “no question kids should be vaccinated” for diseases like measles.
Likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson argued that foregoing vaccines risks allowing communicable diseases "largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country" to return.
"Although I strongly believe in individual rights and the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit,” Carson said, “I also recognize that 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.”
As of Monday, the current measles outbreak has infected more than 100 children across 14 states as the disease continues to spread. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of people who contracted the disease were not vaccinated.