Rand Paul does damage control on vaccines while getting a booster shot

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program MORE (R-Ky.) is moving into damage control mode after his controversial comments on the measles vaccine put the 2016 contender at odds with the vast majority of his party.

After 24 hours of intense media coverage for his vaccination comments, Paul received a Hepatitis A booster from the Capitol physician’s office — and invited a New York Times reporter along to watch.

“It just annoys me that I’m being characterized as someone who’s against vaccines,” Paul, a medical doctor, told the Times as he received the shot, which was a follow-up from vaccines he'd received before traveling to Guatemala last year.

“There’s 400 headlines now that say ‘Paul says vaccines cause mental disorders,'” he added. “That’s not what I said. I said I’ve heard of people who’ve had vaccines and they see a temporal association and they believe that."

Paul attempted to clarify his remarks after facing blowback for a CNBC interview where he said he knew of “many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children, who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines,” though he also said that vaccines were “a good thing.”

The senator said he “did not allege causation” and said his words have been taken out of context.

He tweeted out a photo Tuesday afternoon with a caption that mocked reporters for seizing on the issue: “Wonder how the liberal media will misreport this?”

Paul told the Times that the "the science is clear that if you compare the risks of taking a vaccine to the ill effects of taking a vaccine, it’s overwhelming.”

A panel of federal health officials strongly backed vaccinations during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Tuesday morning. By Tuesday afternoon, at least four of Paul’s potential 2016 rivals followed suit.