Christie Creates Controversy With Vaccine Comments

With measles breakout underway, says he favors "parent choice" in vaccination.

Chris Christie is creating an unusual track record for himself on the subject of public health.

He’s the guy last year who, with fewer than a dozen diagnosed Ebola cases, had a nurse who’d been to Africa held against her will — just in case she did have the disease. She didn’t. “I don’t think it’s draconian,” Christie said at the time. “The members of the American public believe it is common sense, and we are not moving an inch.”

Fast-forward to today. More than 100 cases of measles have been confirmed in the United States — more than a decade after the disease had been eradicated — and while Chris Christie personally favors vaccination, he doesn’t want anybody’s freedom endangered in the name of public health.

The Washington Post reports:

“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 here Monday. But the likely Republican presidential candidate added: “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 said that “there has to be a balance and it depends on what the vaccine is, what the disease type is, and all the rest.” He added, “Not every vaccine is created equal and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others.”

It didn’t take him long to walk that back:

It’s probably not best for public health if vaccinating kids becomes a partisan issue. “Protecting your kids from communicable diseases” shouldn’t be a Republican or Democratic issue, should it?