Science subcommittee chairman doesn't vaccinate his kids

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), the chairman of a House Science subcommittee, says that he did not vaccinate his children. 

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Loudermilk was responding to a question at a town hall last week, when a woman brought up claims that the CDC covered up the link between vaccines and autism. 

"I believe it’s a parents decision whether to immunize or not," Loudermilk, a freshman member of Congress, said. He later added: "Most of our children, we didn’t immunize. They’re healthy."

He said they were home-schooled and therefore did not have to be vaccinated.

Rick Wilson, a well-known Republican strategist, called on Twitter for Loudermilk to "Resign" over the comments.

Later Friday, Loudermilk issued a statements saying his family's "choices surrounding healthcare have been misinterpreted as a statement against immunization."

"I believe it is a parent’s right and responsibility to make all healthcare choices affecting their family," he said. "The advancements of healthcare science throughout our history have saved countless lives around the world, and as a member of Congress, I fully support our scientific community."

The Georgia Republican's comments come as the question of vaccination has entered the political debate. Likely presidential candidates New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWe're all on the tarmac, waiting for an Iran policy This week: Congress set for clash on Trump's border request Washington braces for Trump's next move on Iran MORE (R-Ky.) drew fire earlier this month for saying that parents should have a choice over whether to vaccinate their children.

An outbreak of measles, which can be prevented by vaccination, has affected more than 150 people since the beginning of the year, centering on cases linked to Disneyland in California. 

The Senate Health Committee later held hearings where members of both parties pointed out that the science makes clear that vaccines are safe.

"Too many parents are turning away from sound science," Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Trump issues order to bring transparency to health care prices | Fight over billions in ObamaCare payments heads to Supreme Court GOP lawmakers want Mulvaney sidelined in budget talks Horse abuse for ribbons and prizes has to stop MORE (R-Tenn.), the Science panel's chairman, said. "Sound science is this: Vaccines save lives."

This story was updated with additional information at 3:22 p.m.