New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said parents should have some choice on whether to vaccinate their children, a position he's taken before but one that drew a new level of attention amid a U.S. measles outbreak and his consideration for a presidential campaign.
His stumble into the vaccine issue came as a measles outbreak in California has affected 100 people in several states and Mexico, putting a new spotlight on parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. Some do so for religious or philosophical reasons, while others cite a concern that vaccines can lead to autism and developmental disorders.
The political significance of Christie's remarks was amplified by his office a short time later, when it released a statement saying the governor now believes with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated.
Christie's overseas trip has gone awry and although journalists were told to expect brief remarks from the New Jersey Governor, when he emerged from meeting with British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, he he emerged from 11 Downing Street saying “We had a lot of fun,” he said, before joining his wife in a waiting car and driving away.
One question from a journalist about vaccinations, in light of an outbreak of measles in the US, sent the carefully planned trip off the rails.
“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, adding that his own children have been vaccinated. But the line created a furor among Democrats and even some Republicans, who linked his remarks to the views of so-called “vaccine truthers” who believe, despite scientific consensus to the contrary, that vaccines are linked to autism.
Some political campaign watchers now say he is toast.
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