New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says parents should have some choice about vaccines for their children in general, breaking a bit with President Barack Obama and health officials who are urging parents to get their children vaccinated in the wake of a nationwide measles outbreak.
Christie, a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, made the vaccination comments after visiting a biologics company that makes vaccines in Cambridge, England, according to the Washington Post
. Christie was on a tour to promote ties between Britain and New Jersey.
"Mary Pat and I have had our children vaccinated and we think that it's an important part of being sure we protect their health and the public health," Christie told reporters on Monday. "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."
Obama told NBC News in an interview that air on the "Today" show Monday that parents should get their children vaccinated.
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"I understand that there are families that, in some cases, are concerned about the effect of vaccinations," said Obama. "The science is, you know, pretty indisputable. We've looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren't reasons to not."
White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer called on Christie to "clarify" his comments in a Twitter post exchange with Mark Halperin of Bloomberg Politics.
Christie's office issued a clarification later Monday.
"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 [the] government should mandate," the statement said.
The measles outbreak has spread to 14 states after beginning in California. Health officials believe that the spread has been accelerated by some parents refusing to vaccinate their children for the measles, according for Politico
Anti-vaccine parents have argued that they believe the vaccinations could pose a greater threat to their children than the diseases because of possible side effects such as autism, reported Politico.
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