Hillary Clinton has taken on the issue of vaccinations ever since she entered the White House as first lady more than two decades ago.
A Washington Post report
discusses Clinton's history as it relates to vaccinations, a hot-button issue this week after several lawmakers and potential presidential candidates sounded off on it.
President Barack Obama
urged parents over the weekend to have their children vaccinated, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
stressed the importance of having inoculations — after initially saying parents should have "some measure of choice" in the matter.
The debate took a turn when Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul,
a potential Republican candidate for president next year, said Monday he thinks most vaccinations should be optional.
Paul's words riled up those on the other side of the fence, including Clinton. She tweeted her support for vaccines on Monday:
Clinton played an integral role in vaccinations in the government's 1993 effort to begin a program that provided free vaccines to uninsured children who could not otherwise receive them. The program,
run by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), now covers 16 diseases.
But the program drew criticism from some conservatives in the years that followed, according to the Post. Shortages of some of the vaccines led to opponents of the program saying it would have been better run in the private sector.
And later, skeptics of the program — and vaccines as a whole — called out Clinton after there were suspected ties between vaccines and the rising rate of autism cases in American children.
that issue head-on, saying during the 2008 presidential campaign, "I am committed to make investments to find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines. I have long been a supporter of increased research to determine the links between environmental factors and diseases, and I believe we should increase the NIH's ability to engage in this type of research.
"I will ensure that all vaccines are as safe as possible for our children by working to ensure that thimerosal and mercury are removed from vaccines. I plan to fully invest in our research agencies so they can protect our children's health, and so they can find the causes and cures for conditions such as autism."
The vaccine issue is not one that is clearly defined by political parties. Several Republicans and conservatives have come out this week and pledged their support of vaccines for children, especially as the country is in the midst of a measles outbreak that has infected more than 100 people.
House Speaker John Boehner
said Tuesday he thinks "all children ought to be vaccinated."
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio,
another Republican, said there is "absolutely no medical science or data that links vaccination to autism."
Clinton has yet to publicly announce her candidacy for president, but several signs point to her revealing her intentions to run for the White House in the spring. If she runs, the vaccine debate will most likely follow her on the campaign trail.
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