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Hypo-Christie! New Jersey Gov Blatantly Panders to Religious Right with Vaccine Diss

February 2, 2015 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

The same guy who quarantined the “ebola nurse” says parents should have a choice about vaccines.

Speaking Monday while traveling overseas, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tried to give his presidential campaign among Republican evangelicals a shot in the arm by saying that parents should have a choice in vaccinating their children. But Christie may have put his foot in his mouth instead.

Christie, while touring a biomedical complex in the U.K. during a trade visit—another effort to boost his presidential profile—said that parents should have a “choice” in vaccinating their children, saying that the government’s requirement that children who attend public schools be immunized may be overreaching.

“It’s much more important, I think, what you think as a parent than what you think as a public official,” he said. “I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well, so that’s the balance that the government has to decide.”

Christie’s comments provoked quick criticism. They come against a backdrop of ongoing outbreaks of measles in 14 states—because small numbers of parents in many states are not vaccinating their kids. That has prompted criticism by the medical community and a growing backlash against vaccine opponents. This weekend, President Obama urged parents to “get your kids vaccinated.”

Christie comments also appear to contradict his order last fall to quarantine a nurse who had been exposed to Ebola, when he defended that decision as better-safe-than-sorry. That observation was one of many on Twitter, where many writers criticized the vaccine comments.    

Christie’s staff quickly recalibrated his remarks, issuing a statement: “The governor believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated. At the same time, different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for balance in which ones government should mandate.”  

What’s going on here is Christie is trying to burnish his credentials among evangelical Republican voters in the early GOP primary and caucus States. In late January, when he appeared …read more


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