Rand Paul

Is Rand Paul an Anti-Vaccine Nut Job?


How do you know that the presidential nomination season is getting in high gear? Because suddenly the most important issue in the world is whether GOP hopefuls Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul are pro- or anti-vaccine.

Christie, reports The Washington Post, had the temerity to suggest that

"some measure of choice" on whether shots guarding against measles and other diseases should be required for children. Paul told CNBC "he thinks most vaccines should be voluntary, citing 'many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.'"

(Note: I'm quoted in the story, to the effect that "'There is a broadly ascending libertarian sentiment in the Republican Party… Even mainstream establishment Republicans understand they need to speak to the libertarian wing'").

The Washington Free Beacon, which rarely misses an opportunity to get a dig in on Paul, has dug up this 2009 appearance on the awful, conspiracy-mongering InfoWars show hosted by Alex Jones, in which the future senator opines:

"The first sort of thing you see with martial law is mandates, and they're talking about making it mandatory," said Paul. "I worry because the first flu vaccine we had in the 1970s, more people died from the vaccine than died from the swine flu."

As a matter of history, Paul is flat-out wrong. The first flu vaccines were developed in the late 1930s. And various statements he has made (including the recent CNBC quote) implying that vaccines cause "many tragic cases" of kids developing "mental disorders" flies in the face of the leading science on the issue. As Reason's Ronald Bailey noted yesterday, the supposed link between vaccines and autism has been definitively rebuked. If Paul is nodding to that, he's wrong. And as Bailey notes, in the CNBC show, Paul called vaccines "one of the biggest medical breakthroughs we've had." (FWIW, Paul's meh clarification on his position regarding vaccines and autism will no doubt be his last word on the matter.)

Indeed, even in the 2009 appearance where Paul, an opthamologist by trade, indulged the paranoid fantasies of the InfoWars audience, he stressed:

"The whole problem is not necessarily good versus bad on vaccines, it's whether it should be mandatory or the individual makes the decision," he added. "And sometimes you want to not be the first one to get a new procedure, you want to see if it works well before you choose."

While Paul said he would personally choose to get the smallpox vaccine again and would have taken one for polio, he said the decision to vaccinate should be left to the individual. He also said the risks of the vaccines need to be weighed against the risks of the diseases.

"You have to weigh the risks of the disease versus the risks of the vaccine," Paul said. "But I'm not going to tell people who think it's a bad idea that they have to take it because everybody should be allowed to make their own health care decisions."

These don't strike me as the rantings of an anti-vaxxer wingnut such as Robert Kennedy Jr. (whose 2005 story on the matter for Salon was pulled by that site) or Jenny McCarthy or even Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton circa 2008, but rather a pretty considered position of someone who takes seriously limits on state power. There are at least two issues under consideration when we talk about vaccines: What does the science say and whether they should be mandatory (and which ones and under what circumstances). Those are separate questions and it sounds as if both Christie and Paul understand that in a way the media doesn't.

I say this as someone who has gotten my own kids vaccinated against all the childhood diseases and a variety of less-likely maladies as well. And someone who is far more interested in what presidential candidates of any party or ideology think about issues such as spending and debt, civil liberties and NSA surveillance, the drug war, and foreign policy and military intervention (Paul's non-interventionist bent is the true wellspring of the Washington Free Beacon's interest in the candidate).

None of this means that Paul—and Christie—should be playing fast and loose with the best knowledge on this or any other topic. If they want to be taken seriously, they need to up their games not just in terms of presentation but in terms of depth of thought. But the fact that we're talking about vaccines and Republicans (even though anti-vax sentiment is distributed across the political spectrum) is a reminder that the 2016 is just around the corner and that the press is always more interested in side issues than the ones that most deserve our attention. 

NEXT: Three Parent Babies Approved By British Parliament. Hooray!

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  1. I worry because the first flu vaccine we had in the 1970s, more people died from the vaccine than died from the swine flu.

    As a matter of pragmatics, Nick Gillespie is flat-out wrong. Any native speaker of English would recognize that Paul was referring to the first vaccines in the 70s, not the first vaccines in history. And it is true that during the 1976 outbreak of swine flu that never was that while only one person died from the flu itself, 25 people died from side-effects of the vaccine.

    Indeed, the government incompetence and ham-handedness during the 1976 swine flu affair is not only of of interest to libertarians, but Neustadt and Fineberg’s case study* of what went wrong was so well written that it serves as an exemplar of case study research to this day.

    * http://www.nap.edu/catalog/126…..ry-disease

    1. Heroic, don’t hurt ’em!

      1. Don’t hurt them, no more.

      2. Nick still has the opportunity to edit his article and post a correction if he so desires.

        Assuming that his original intent wasn’t composing a mendacious hatchet-job, of course.

        1. Assuming that his original intent wasn’t composing a mendacious hatchet-job, of course.

          A strange assumption, considering that is basically his SOP.

          1. Listen, I’m sure Gillespie is proud of all the research he did on the history of vaccines and felt it necessary to find a way to pound that square peg into the round hole that was Paul’s statement.

    2. And it is true that during the 1976 outbreak of swine flu that never was that while only one person died from the flu itself, 25 people died from side-effects of the vaccine.

      After we vaccinated 40 million people, only one person died of Swine flu. Clearly this means that the vaccine was unnecessary, and not that it successfully prevented a wider outbreak.

      1. In 1976, a small group of soldiers at Fort Dix were infected with a swine flu virus that was deemed similar to the virus responsible for the great 1918-19 world-wide flu pandemic. The U.S. government initiated an unprecedented effort to immunize every American against the disease. While a qualified success in terms of numbers reached-more than 40 million Americans received the vaccine-the disease never reappeared. The program was marked by controversy, delay, administrative troubles, legal complications, unforeseen side effects and a progressive loss of credibility for public health authorities.

        I guess that somehow counts as a stunning government success to some people.

      2. 40 million out of 200 million? I just heard the other day that everyone needs a shot for “herd immunity” to work.

      3. The flue vaccines have never had anywhere near 100% effectivity.

        1. The flue vaccines have never had anywhere near 100% effectivity.

          Oh, I think we have proof otherwise. I’ve never, ever seen anyone with a stovepipe coming out of their head. Also, hats don’t count.

  2. but what is his stance about children with 3 biological parents?

    1. If a baker doesn’t want to put 3 people on the wedding cake, she shouldn’t have to.

      1. Word.

  3. I admire many of the positions that Rand Paul has taken regarding foreign policy, civil liberties, etc. But the sad fact is that Rand is not ready for prime time and he’s going to get ripped apart in the primaries. He can’t take criticism, particularly from women. Read Ruth Marcus’ column in the Post today. As for Obama’s comments in 2008, Dave Wiegel (remember him?) explains in Bloomberg that 1) Obama was speaking in 2008, when the vaccines cause autism meme had not been definitively refuted and 2) “Including this person” referred to a person who asked Obama about vaccines and autism, not Obama himself.

    Rand Paul has said things about foreign policy that no other prominent person in DC has the guts, and insight, to say, but he is not ready for the big leagues. and he’s going to get pounded.

    1. That’s what the primaries are for. Let’s see if he can turn a corner. I think he can- more than any others that have stepped up.

      And Obama was elected twice with well known bias against women with strong opinions.

    2. Basically Rand Paul is Ron Paul only less libertarian. Ron had the balls to support recreational drug legalization.

      1. Ron didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting to the White House. Rand does.

        1. I agree that Rand is a slicker politician than Ron was.

        2. Ron didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting to the White House. Rand does

          No, he really doesn’t. His complete failure to understand the value of vaccination notwithstanding, he’s too far sideways from the mainstream on most everything else to even have a ghost of a chance.

          The republicans in congress have done everything they possibly can to guarantee a democratic president this next time around. You watch. That’s exactly what’s going to happen. The one chance here, the one guy with at least somewhat broad appeal, was Romney, and he’s bowed out. 2016 is a shoo in for the democrats now.

          What we want is not what mainstream America wants, nor is there any way for us to make them want it.

    3. ripped apart in the primaries.

      I believe that Rand wants to be president and is more of a politician than his father. This means he knows he needs to pander to neo-cons and is willing to do so. Thus, he will say things that are less-than libertarian.

      1. If he’s willing to tell neocons what they want to hear in order to get elected, how do you know he’s not just telling libertarians what they want to hear for the same reason?

        1. If he’s willing to tell neocons what they want to hear in order to get elected, how do you know he’s not just telling libertarians what they want to hear for the same reason?

          Look at what he does, not at what he says.

          1. What he does is stand up for libertarian positions, WHEN THEY’RE WIDELY POPULAR.

            I’ve yet to see Rand Paul do something for a libertarian position that wasn’t already supported by 60% of the public before hand. And guess what, we don’t need Rand Paul to implement policies that have 60% support.

            1. A list of bills sponsored or cosponsored by Paul

              Items that apparently have 60%+ support from the US public (who knew?!):

              Auditing the Federal Reserve
              Auditing the DoD
              Reigning in asset forfeiture
              Allowing industrial farming of hemp
              Reigning in police militarization
              Reigning in the EPA
              Lower penalties for drug possession
              Limiting federal spending, and then automatically lowering those limits every year

              Now, there’s a lot of chaff and some arguably non-libertarian positions in the full list, but it’s nowhere near honest to say that Paul only takes widely approved positions.

            2. What he does is stand up for libertarian positions, WHEN THEY’RE WIDELY POPULAR.

              That’s a good start. Most of the other candidates won’t even go that far, because they are authoritarians at heart.

        2. Yup.

    4. Yet, one wonders how many five, six, seven year olds are today wandering around without measles vaccinations because their parents listened to Obama and Clinton in 2008? And has Obama ever answered the question about how many of the Mexican immigrant kids were vaccinated, or even medically evaluated, before they were dispersed to the four winds?

      1. And the idea that vaccines cause autism was debunked quite thoroughly by 2008.

        1. I defy you to find even a single quote from Rand Paul in the last 40 years that even implies vaccines cause autism.

    5. Rand Paul has said things about foreign policy that no sensible president would ever believe. Rand Paul is an isolationist, which is consistent with modern Libertarianism but not with modern reality. He will be walking it back rapidly over the next few months, but it won’t change what he believes.

    6. You do know that Rand Paul has never once claimed that vaccines cause autism, right? NBC started this lie that was immediately picked up by Megyn Kelly. Has this place gone to the liberals and neocons or what?

  4. even though anti-vax sentiment is distributed across the political spectrum

    But John says that only liberals are anti-vax nuts!

    1. Yeah, it spans the spectrum from liberal to socialist.

    2. Most anti vax folk are liberals. Just as most people who think GMO foods can give you cancer are liberals.

      The only prominent conservative who’s anti-vaccine is Michael Savage (malcontent radio host). No one serious in talk radio or the right side of the web ever campaigned against vaccines.

  5. “My body, my choice.” -Rand Paul

    *As he flips his curls in a sassy fashion*

  6. Why did Rand Paul have to stop on his own dick like this?

    1. Because he is not a competent candidate. This will become obvious over the next year.

  7. Medical experts reacted with alarm Monday as two top contenders for the Republican presidential nomination appeared to question whether child vaccinations should be mandatory

    Ruminate on that for a minute. Then realize that these experts are reacting to alarm at the opinion that parents should have a choice as to what medical procedures their child should undergo.

    1. I wonder if these people think we should send SWAT teams to jab people in the arm, or just quarantine people in their house?

      1. I’m sure what ever “they” decide will be in the best interests of the “children”.

    2. What boggles my mind is why it is phrased this way, since vaccinations are not mandatory! Or if you want to say they are mandatory in terms of needing it to go to public school, well that’s already the case and neither candidate said anything about changing that! So what the fuck is the controversy? Paul and Christie did not actually say anything different than what Obama said. No one has suggested any new policy.

    3. I don’t see the danger in mandatory vaccinations as being that they might keep kids out of school if they aren’t immunized for measles and mumps. That’s just common sense. I see the problem in allowing government to make vaccinations mandatory, for a long list of diseases picked by the government.

      1. Mandatory stuff is always the best stuff.

    4. “Medical experts reacted with alarm Monday as two top contenders for the Republican presidential nomination appeared to question whether child vaccinations should be mandatory”

      This is media bias in it’s finest. As far as I can remember, debunking the vaccine hysteria was a libertarian project at least since the mid 2000’s.

      I recall seeing this John Stossel segment back in the day, and the left and the autism activist ripped him for being a Pharma patsy –


      But consider how the MSM turns our own cause against us, because they have to follow the narrative that we’re “anti-science”. Even though the most science defying logic and noise on the anti vaccine crowd are made by the left.

      I don’t buy that anti vaccine movement is “bi-partisan”. It’s laughable. You might as well as everyone here loves solar power as much as the left.

  8. How many here have kept current with their vaccines? Most people I know get them as children and unless they work in the medical field or travel out of the country, never have them updated.

    If you are in your 30’s or older, you definitely did not receive all the vaccinations that are currently given children today. If you have not had your vaccinations updated to the current 30+ are you in danger? Are you “anti-vaccinations”?

    1. I last went to the doctor right before my son was born for a physical and to get re-upped on the pertussis vaccination.

      That was more than 3 years ago (I’m 28).

    2. I’ve had one shot in the last 30 years. I’ve missed less than 10 days of work in that time.

    3. I had to have a Hep B booster because my neutralizing antibody level fell below the protective threshold. If it’s been longer than 10 years since that shot you should get tested.

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  10. this is a manufactured story and it’s not that difficult a thing to notice. No one in the GOP ranks and, for that matter, no one among Dems is debating vaccinations. It’s a bit like Romney being asked in the 2012 debates about contraception. No one was debating it, either.

    The media has its marching orders and those are to start now in trying to discredit or disqualify as many Repub contenders and pretenders as possible. The means is immaterial; it is the ends that matter.

    As it is, Paul said vaccines are a good thing, something he did with his kids; it is beyond ludicrous that declarative steps and actions can escape notice. But then, we’re talking about people whose job is to not notice the obvious.

    1. Ha! Full-time GOP dupe and idiot Sean Hannity is taking the bait –


      1. the story is a non-story. As it is, your king has proposed a cut in the vaccine budget in his proposal. What will Media Matters make of that.

        Media Matters? What, for the 8% crowd?

    2. No one in the GOP ranks and, for that matter, no one among Dems is debating vaccinations

      And yet GOP politicians keep flubbing simple questions. Again, the fact Republicans keep giving stupid answers to simple questions is not the fault of the people asking the questions.

      1. and you miss the point. It’s a manufactured story that’s not even from left field. It’s more from the convenience store beyond the parking lot. And those politicians have said vaccines are a good thing. Ironic that their suggesting parents might have a say in things about their kids upsets people on a libertarian site, of all places.

      2. Again, the fact Republicans keep giving stupid answers to simple questions is not the fault of the people asking the questions.

        Democrats give stupid answers to questions, too. The difference is that, largely speaking, those dumb answers don’t get the same airtime.

        That’s not an excuse for Paul’s answer, but selective reporting is definitely the fault of the reporter.

  11. My kids are up to date on their vaccinations.

    It seems weird to me that of all spaces on the web, there isn’t more sympathy for those that question the government over vaccinations, here. Is it really completely implausible that sources telling us newer vaccines are safe, are carefully monitored and controlled by the government…for the good of the collective? I’m not saying that’s the case, just that I understand that some might think so. I’ve read a couple articles alleging to be from doctors who state their change in belief in vaccinations came from negative patient experience combined with researching the testing methodology used to green light some vaccines. Stating that vaccines are not tested any where near as thoroughly as other medications.

    Maybe I’m just naturally less trusting, but it seems reasonable to not be completely confident that the substance being injected is as safe as alleged.

    1. Stating that vaccines are not tested any where near as thoroughly as other medications.

      Other medications get safety and efficacy trials. Vaccinations generally only get safety trials.

      For some reason, deliberately exposing people to infectious diseases to see if the vaccine is effective is considered unethical.

      1. I should have said…’safety tested anywhere near…’

        But since I was talking about the safety side of the issue, not the efficacy, I thought that would have been assumed. Sorry.

    2. It seems weird to me that of all spaces on the web, there isn’t more sympathy for those that question the government over vaccinations, here.

      Why, do you think all libertarians are scientifically ignorant like the anti-vaxxers are? Do you think we don’t understand what herd immunity is, and what the value of it is not only to the vaccinated, but to those who, for whatever (good) reason such as allergy, etc., cannot get vaccinated? Do you think we’ve been duped by the idiot yellow press nonsense about “autism”?

      Most libertarians I know (small l) are some of the smartest people around. They certainly don’t want their families unnecessarily exposed to horrifying diseases and other nasty downstream consequences if it can be prevented relatively easily.

      Now, Large L Libertarians… the ones who honestly think they can get a hook into the already 100% owned and purchased political / corporate process… those people are nucking futz. Perhaps you’re talking to them.

      You want to change something in Washington, bring money. Lots. How much? This much: More than the other guy. Otherwise you’re wasting your time. Whole lotta noise and no action whatsoever.

  12. Great to see Rand Paul falling into the “If I say something stupid and the media publishes it, the media is ‘misreporting'” crutch. The line about vaccines causing mental disorders was stupid. Just admit it, and move on.

    1. Pertussis vaccines can in fact cause brain damage as a side effect in an unfortunate small percentage of recipients suffering side effects. But just go on pretending he actually said something stupid. It is the current talking point after all.

    2. What was stupid about it? Pertussis vaccination in the USA was linked to encephalopathies. There’s some dispute about the causality, but it’s perfectly reasonable for a doctor to point it out.

      1. In the same sense that going outside is linked to getting hit by lightening.

        Pointing out black swan events as though they’re a serious consideration is not perfectly reasonable for a doctor, and it’s typical of the knee jerk anti-rationalism that’s infected far too much of the right.

        1. No, he was pointing out that he acknowledges that vaccines are not risk-free, and the side effects for an unlucky few can be very severe, so he understands that some parents might be overly apprehensive about them. But just keep pushing the dishonest “Rand is a vaccine denier” talking point.

          1. Nothing is completely risk free. When you start bringing up risks that are 1 in a million occurrences as though they’re actually a significant concern, you’re not being rational.

            1. Way to deliberately miss the point.

            2. The context of the discussion was whether or not people should be forced to vaccinate by the government.

              For an individual, weighing the relative risks of harm will almost certainly favor the vaccine.

              For a population, issuing a decree that everyone must vaccinate is essentially consigning a proportion of the population to suffer.

              A 1 in a million chance translates into roughly 300 people in the United States.

            3. If the risk of getting the disease is less than 1 in a million, you aren’t being irrational.

          2. They are trying to get Rand out as soon as possible because the establishment wants some one who represents them and likely they will get either Hillary or Jeb. I will be voting the green party or something if those two are the only ones the 2 party system is willing to put up. No one is perfect but I would rather have someone like Rand than Hillary or Jeb.

        2. Although WTF said it well already, I want to add a thought.

          Physicians, and other smart people, know that there are few if any absolutes. They recognize and are mindful of nuance. Thats’ one reason that Paul says “vaccines are great, but…”. Only simple-minded folk fall for the black-and-white versions that say vaccines are good or vaccines are bad.

          This is an obvious media lynching in that it targets the sentence or sentence fragment that gives the absolute evidence while ignoring the nuance and the prepositional phrase that counters or dilutes the absolute.

          Perhaps Paul needs to err toward the stupid reporter (and voter) and give only sterilized catch phrases in order to win the nomination. But I’d personally rather politicians tell me what they really think before they get into office. Obama is great with catch phrases–look where that got us.

    3. It was stupid, but he is not being taken to task merely for being incorrect or spreading a falsehood; he’s being accused of being anti-vaccines. He’s accused of being an extremist for supporting the status quo.

    4. He never said anything stupid you’re wantonly turning this into something it isn’t.

  13. implying that vaccines cause “many tragic cases” of kids developing “mental disorders” flies in the face of the leading science on the issue. As Reason’s Ronald Bailey noted yesterday, the supposed link between vaccines and autism has been definitively rebuked.

    What makes you think Rand Paul was referring to autism from vaccines in general, rather than encephalopathies caused by particular vaccines?

    1. Because that interpretation allows them to push the “Rand is an anti-science vaccine denier” talking point to try to discredit him.

      1. OK, so you have NOT bought into the “Rand Paul thinks vaccines cause autism” nonsense. Please disregard my 10:21 reply to you then. Thanks, and apologies for the confusion. 🙂

  14. Misses the issue. For more mainstream voters to support Rand Paul, he cannot be seen to be associated with the loopier views of his father. This interview, and his unclear position on vaccines, paint him as more like his father than is comfortable. And that is fatal to his candidacy.

    1. I’m looking forward to the upcoming primary season where the “mainstream” Republicans tell us Paul is “unelectable” and do whatever is possible to sink his primary candidacy, then turn around and tell us we must vote for their anointed candidate in the general election.

      The lack of either of the more “electable” candidates actually winning the elections in 2008 or 2012 will be flushed down the memory hole.

  15. Better second alt-text: Everybody says I’m fat, but Schumer’s are out to here.

  16. …implying that vaccines cause “many tragic cases” of kids developing “mental disorders” flies in the face of the leading science on the issue.

    The “leading science” ignores the well documented side effects? Who pays for the “leading science,” the vaccine companies?

    1. The FDA.

  17. This ludicrous. Bottom line is, Politicians need to stay out of the personal decision making of individuals and their families. What Medical procedure a person decides for themselves and their family members is not the business of the government and it’s officials. A persons private matters and decisions are just that…..private and should never be scrutinized by anyone! End of subject.

    1. Yes, and you should have a perfect right to poo on the street, your lawn, your doorstep, right? Because freedom, rah! Never mind bout them silly ol bugzez. Cholera? I never put that dog on a leash at all!

      Look: when more people are running around sick, spreading this stuff, the chances for everyone to catch whatever it is else rise. PARTICULARLY the unvaccinated but not yet ill. Is that too complex an idea for you?

      The IDEA with vaccines is to reduce the incidence of that kind of completely unnecessary disease-spreading running around. First, because the vaccinated don’t tend to incubate and spread, and second, because the UNvaccinated, which should be a small minority defined by allergies and the like, can go around in public not fearing that some IDIOT who should have taken prophilactic action didn’t. If the luddites and cluetards have their way here, you’re going to see a steep rise in some diseases, returns of others, and you’ll all be pointing the finger.

      JFC. Liberty is great. But liberty reaches NATURAL LIMITS when what you do, screws up the other guy or his family without cause. So get bloody vaccinated and stop acting like this is an issue of liberty. It’s not. It’s an issue of public safety. The public. You know. YOU. YOUR FAMILY. jfc.

  18. Rand Paul is trying to attract voters. That’s why he introduced “race” in the Ferguson discourse (by framing it as a big government issue, of course). And now he’s sort of riding the fence on this vaccine issue by conveying to nervous moms fearing big pharma that “I understand that you have concerns over side effects”.

    You sort of have to take the bad with the good. Rand has a lot of substance but he (and Christie) should be more thick skinned. Ronald Bailey says you should treat the vaccine deniers like deadbeats and schools should kick out student who don’t get vaccinated. That might be a good idea, but that ain’t gonna fly coming out of a politician’s mouth.

  19. Dr. Paul didn’t change his statement on vaccinations and negative effects; his initial statement was there was correlation — he neither said there was a (statistically) significant correlation or did he suggest causation. He simply neglected to remember that reporters do not tend to be rigorous thinkers.

  20. Thank you, Senator Paul for supporting my right to decide if I want to subject myself/my loved ones to vaccines.

    Nick, you state: There are at least two issues under consideration when we talk about vaccines: What does the science say and whether they should be mandatory… You can find out what the science says by reading the books Dr Mary’s Monkey by Ed Haslam and Me & Lee by Judyth Vary Baker. Haslam does a two hour interview on Youtube. Researchers/anyone can make strong conclusions about the impact the SV40 virus has had on those subjected to them.

    As far as treating measles the WHO recommends using Vitamin A. That will be our choice. I can’t imagine mandatory vaccines in America. Disturbing.

    So, once again – thank you Senator Rand Paul!

  21. Is calling people with opinions you don’t share names like “nut job” your idea of “reason”?

  22. I ditched Rand Paul when at the RNC he turned to dumping his dad and turning his support to Mitt Romney. No real Libertarian would even consider such a thing.

    That aside, I see two considerations here. First and foremost is the principle of sovereign individuals and free choice. Along with that is of course their responsibily for bad choices which harm others.

    There is the issue of so many vaccines containing mercury, and so-called Rulers who universally ignore it’s dangers. So much for “regulation”.

  23. If you’re quoting Ruth Marcus then there’s no hope for ya!!

  24. Jesus, you too? Rand Paul has not now, nor has he ever claimed there was a link between vaccines and autism. The rare side effects he DID mention, encephalitis and encephalopathy, are both well-known and well-documented side effects on the order of 1 in 10,000 patients that showed up during clinical trials and are therefore required to be printed on the package inserts by federal law.

    You and Megyn Kelly are promulgating the exact same lie, and you two should probably get a room. Rand Paul has NEVER claimed the existence of a link between vaccines and autism. N E V E R . Go and look for yourself and try to prove me wrong. When you fail to find even one scintilla of evidence for what you claim his position is, I will expect a retraction. I’ll be waiting, but I won’t be holding my breath.

  25. Doubly Ironic: Nick Gillespie uses a photo post by Rand Paul citing the liberal distortion of his position….in an article on H&R that is significantly distorting Rand Paul’s position.

  26. Herd immunity. Relying on most of the people around you being immune to a disease so you don’t catch it from them.

    The problem with that is with diseases that can be transmitted via non-human vector. Then herd immunity fails and one un-vaccinated person can transmit the disease to any others who haven’t been vaccinated.

    The early failures with smallpox vaccination came from people not following the directions. Jenner’s method barely scratched the skin and administered very little cowpox virus. Just enough to get the immune system to react and kill it before it could spread. Some people got the if a little is good, a lot should be better and made deep cuts into which they shoved cow pox pus instead of carefully harvested clear liquid from the pustules.

    Variolation was a procedure where dried smallpox scabs were ground up and a small amount blown into a person’s nose or a small amount placed into a tiny skin cut. Done properly the process resulted in either a mild form of the disease or just immunity. There was however around a 1 to 2 percent death rate, far better than the 30 percent from contracting smallpox the regular ways.

    That was a primitive form of using a dead virus for vaccine. Mild disease symptoms would likely have been caused by not quite dry enough scabs containing weakened virus and the full blown cases and deaths from scabs still containing full strength virus.

    1. Same sad tale of the little-good, lots-better with this. Rather than poking a tiny bit of ground up dried scab into the skin, some practitioners were making big cuts and slopping in lots of not too well dried scab.

      The polio vaccine had problems with using weakened virus. in 1963, Farris C. Lind (AKA Fearless Farris), who owned the Stinker Station chain of gas stations, contracted polio from a weakened virus vaccine made by Wyeth Laboratories. Early attempts at weakened virus vaccines had problems with quality control where sometimes the virus wasn’t weakened enough, or at all.

      It wasn’t until 1940 that the first image of a virus was made with an electron microscope. Before that, researchers of virology had no real exacting knowledge of exactly what they were working with, other than they were some type of particle so small they could pass through filters designed to not pass the smallest bacteria.

      1. Today, what is one of the stupidest warnings about vaccines comes from the vaccine manufacturers. “Do not take our vaccine if you are allergic to it.”. How can you know if you are allergic to a vaccine unless before it’s injected under your skin, inhaled or swallowed?

        “Don’t eat this food if you’re allergic it it.”
        “OK, but I’ve never eaten that before.”
        “Just covering my ass, don’t eat it if you’re allergic to it.”
        “But how can I know if I’m allergic before I do something, like eating it, to see if I have a reaction…”
        “Nope. Sorry, can’t sell you this yummy thing unless you can tell me if you’re allergic to it.”

  27. I believe Paul was referring to the swine flu vaccine. But how do you feel about compulsory state education?

  28. Oh please, Reason. Don’t add to the cacophony of screechy ideologues.

    Our founding principles are based on the concept that we trust the People to do the right thing, not forcing them.

    Vaccination is high in everyone’s mind at the moment – this will pass when the measles outbreak goes away (and it will). The question is, can we withstand the desire to further take away the freedom of the individual to make her/his own choices and make vaccination mandatory.

    There are anti-vaxxers (and there *always* have been). Many of them are coming to their senses with this measles outbreak, as they see they’re partially at fault for this.

    Partially? Yes – everyone is conveniently ignoring the flood of illegal immigrants (Yes, California has those), none of whom have vaccinations, and many who come from countries where measles, whooping cough, and other diseases are common.

    I’ll bet there are more illegal aliens in California than anti-vaxxers.

    1. If vaccines work so well – why are vaccinated people so afraid of non-vaccinated people?

      If the measles vaccine works, at all, to grant immunity to this sitcom joke of a disease – why the hysterics? Why the Chicken Little, Sky is Falling, running around shrieking & waving arms? If vaccines work, vaccinated people should be as cool as a popsicle, secure in knowing that they’re totally protected.

      The only people “at fault” for this measles outbreak are vaccinated people – those who pig-ignorantly gave up a natural, lifetime immunity for an artificial, chemically-induced immunity of 2-5 years.

  29. I get as far as Rand Paul’s “anecdotal” reference and tuned out. Dumb comment from a man of science.

    1. So, is Merck being dumb too when they print on their own MMR-II package inserts, that this vaccine has encephalitis and encephalopathy as known-observed (if rare) side effects?

  30. The Government Does Not Own My Children

  31. Reason. The “libertarian” rag that proposes we should hold people at gunpoint, strap them down to a table against their will so that they cannot move, and jab them full of virii in spite of their screaming in horror. “for the common good.” lmao

  32. Oh look, Nick Gillespie still has not corrected his lie implying that Rand Paul has EVER linked vaccines to autism. Imagine that.

  33. “As Reason’s Ronald Bailey noted yesterday, the supposed link between vaccines and autism has been definitively rebuked.”

    Does this rebuking include the CDC doctor who flat-out admitted he was paid to lie when his team declared that there was no link?

    Otherwise, both you AND Mr. Bailey are doing what’s known as “lying through your teeth.”

  34. Paul is not an anti-vaccine nut job. Paul vaccinated his own kids. Being extremely libertarian and a physician,, if he really believed that vaccines caused serious mental disorder, I would seriously doubt that he would have vaccinated his own kids. He would have home schooled his kids first.. Paul is pandering to his base of paranoid and anti-government conspiracy theorists. Christie should have more commitment to people of New Jersey. He is a governor! What is more important? Sending responsible public health message to people you serve or pander to the fringe for the primary? Where is all this so called straight talking no bull guy we used to hear about? His ambition is sinking him ironically

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