Dr. Ben Carson: No ‘Philosophical’ or ‘Religious’ Exemptions for Vaccinations

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Dr. Ben Carson, a likely 2016 GOP presidential contenders, believes there should be no “philosophical” or “religious” exemptions for vaccinations.

“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.”

“Although I strongly believe in individual rights and the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit, I also recognize that public health and public safety are extremely important in our society,” Carson told The Hill. “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.”

Paul's amendment would ban laws that don’t apply equally to citizens and government. | AP Photo

The retired neurosurgeon’s comments came hours after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), both of whom are likely 2016 presidential candidates and potential rivals, stirred up controversy with their takes on vaccinations after the Disneyland measles outbreak.

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On Monday, Christie called for a need for “balance” regarding vaccination before his office immediately clarified Christie’s comments, saying there is “no question” that kids should be vaccinated against a disease like measles.

Paul said he could not understand why his belief that most vaccinations should be “voluntary” is in any way “controversial.”

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“I guess being for freedom would be really unusual?” he said during a Monday CNBC appearance. “I don’t understand the point why that would be controversial.”

Paul said that “vaccines are one of the greatest medical breakthroughs” and he was a “great fan of the smallpox vaccine.” Read the rest of this entry »