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Paul says forced vaccinations is 'giving up on liberty for a false sense of security'

Paul says forced vaccinations is 'giving up on liberty for a false sense of security'

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Health Care: 50 million coronavirus vaccines given | Pfizer news | Biden health nominees Rand Paul criticized for questioning of transgender health nominee Haley isolated after Trump fallout MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday the government should not force parents to vaccinate their children.

"I believe that the benefits of vaccines greatly outweigh the risks, but I still do not favor giving up on liberty for a false sense of security," Paul said during a Senate hearing focused on the rise in preventable disease outbreaks. 

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Paul, a medical doctor, said while he and his kids have been vaccinated, the government should rely on "persuasion" rather than force to increase vaccine rates.

"I think it's important to remember that force is not consistent with the American story," the senator said. 

Every state requires children to have certain vaccines, like the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, before entering public school. 

Paul appeared to disagree with these requirements, saying he's not a "fan of government coercion." 

His remarks drew a rebuke from Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidySunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Republicans see Becerra as next target in confirmation wars Overnight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe, effective in FDA analysis | 3-4 million doses coming next week | White House to send out 25 million masks MORE (R-La.), who is also a physician. 

"Let me give some color to what Sen. Paul said," Cassidy said during the hearing, noting that he has met people who ended up with "terrible diseases" because they weren't vaccinated. 

"The requirement is just that you cannot enter school unless you're vaccinated. Now, if you're such a believer in liberty that you do not wish to be vaccinated, then there should be a consequence, and that is that you cannot infect other people," he said. 

Cassidy noted that some children aren't able to receive vaccinations because they have weakened immune systems or are receiving cancer treatment. But they can be protected if enough people around them are vaccinated, because that would make it harder for the diseases to spread. 

"Now, if you believe in liberty, that's fine. Don't get immunized, but I don't think you need to necessarily expose others to disease," Cassidy said.