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It’s not just Chris Christie: The surprising people casting doubt on vaccinating kids

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Everyone knows that Jenny McCarthy is the unofficial spokeswoman for the anti-vaccination movement, but it might surprise you to learn who else is drinking her Kool-Aid.

Donald Trump:

The once and future presidential candidate has argued that the manner in which vaccines are given to children has been linked to autism, saying that “I am being proven right about massive vaccinations — the doctors lied. Save our children [and] their future.”

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Billy Corgan:

The Smashing Pumpkins front-man not only refuses to believe that vaccines are safe, he believes that the viruses they vaccinate people against are not “naturally occurring virus[s].” He went on to say that “I have read reports from people who say (as doctors) that there is evidence to suggest this virus was created by man; to call it Swine Flu is then a misnomer, as it really is Swine Flu plus some other stuff stitched together.”

Chris Christie:

In London, the New Jersey governor said that although he had his own children vaccinated, “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.”

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Bill Maher:

In 2010, the comedian and Real Time host wrote a column in for the Huffington Post in which he claimed that “[v]accination is a nuanced subject, and I’ve never said all vaccines in all situations are bad. The point I am representing is: Is getting frequent vaccinations for any and all viruses consequence-free? I feel its unnecessary and counterproductive to try and silence people with condescension.”

Rand Paul:

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On February 2, 2015, Paul told conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham that “there are times when there must be some [mandatory] rules, but for the most part it ought to be voluntary…While I think it’s a good idea to take the vaccine, I think that’s a personal decision for individuals to take.”

Rob Schneider:

The Saturday Night Live alum had a State Farm Insurance commercial pulled after his opinion on vaccinations became widely known. He responded in an article, arguing that “the idea that vaccines don’t injure people is a fallacy. Two billion dollars have been paid out to people who have been vaccine injured or died in the United States. This is a real thing.”

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Hillary Clinton:

In a campaign questionnaire during the 2008 Democratic primaries, Clinton said that she was “committed” to finding all possible causes of autism, “including possible environmental causes like vaccines.”

Sarah Palin:

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In response to the Department of Education’s announcement of a new vaccination policy, then Governor Palin wrote that she wanted it known that this was the “Bd of Ed’s call,” not hers. “If asked, tho, u can let folks know I would not propose govt mandating anything like shots for our kids.”

Mayim Bialik:

The former Blossom and current Big Bang Theory star, who also has a doctorate in neuroscience from UCLA, told People that hers is “a non-vaccinating family, but I make no claims about people’s individual decisions. We based ours on research and discussions with our pediatrician, and we’ve been happy with that decision, but obviously there’s a lot of controversy about it.”

Carly Fiorina:

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In an interview in January, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO told Buzzfeed that “I think vaccinating for measles makes a lot of sense — but that’s me. I do think parents have to make those choices.”

John McCain:

On the campaign trail in 2008, the Republican nominee told an audience in Texas that “[i]t’s indisputable that (autism) is on the rise among children, the question is what’s causing it. And we go back and forth and there’s strong evidence that indicates it’s got to do with a preservative in vaccines.”

Barack Obama:

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While campaigning for president in 2008, Obama told students in Pennsylvania that “[w]e’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.” Even though the “person” being referred to was not Obama, but a member of the audience, the future president was still given undue credence to claims that “the science” linking vaccines to autism was “inconclusive.”

The president has, however, changed his tune, telling American parents yesterday that they “should get their kids vaccinated” because “the science is pretty indisputable.”

UPDATE: This article originally did not note that “this person” Obama referred to was an audience member, not the president himself.


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