With presidential primary season looming, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is finally voicing his opinion on national issues. And out of the gate, he's stirring up controversy. Monday morning, Christie said that while he believes vaccination is a public good, parents should have a degree of choice in the matter. The Washington Post quoted him saying, "Not every vaccine is created equal, and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others." These comments come just a day after President Obama urged all parents to "get your kids vaccinated," in light of the recent measles outbreak in California.
Christie's office did clarify his position. "There is no question kids should be vaccinated," a statement read. But his thoughts on policy are vague. He calls for "a measure of choice," and "balance" over which vaccines the government should mandate. Yes, it would be probably be weird public policy if the U.S. government took a totalitarian approach: barging into homes with nurses and syringes. There are some legitimate reasons not to vaccinate a child. Allergic reactions can happen. There are tricky vaccination decisions to make for children born with HIV. But for the vast, vast majority of children, vaccines are safe, and they should stay to the prescribed schedule.