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 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.) 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 CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyThe Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations Overnight 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 The Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck 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.