Life, liberty, and the right to infect others with measles: Rand Paul on vaccination

Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky tried to merge his medical training and libertarian philosophy last week. It was tough. (John Locher/AP)

By Jeffrey P. Baker, MD, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, Duke University

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky confirmed his membership in the “doctors who shouldn’t have gone into politics” club with his comments last week supporting the right of parents who don’t want their kids to be immunized. While acknowledging vaccines to be “one of the greatest medical breakthroughs that we have,” Paul asserted that they should be voluntary. He talked of “walking, talking, normal kids” who had been left with “profound mental disorders” after getting several vaccines at once, and admitted that he had used an alternative schedule for his own children.

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