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 PaulSunday Talk Shows: Lawmakers look ahead to House vote on articles of impeachment, Senate trial Pentagon to take bigger role in vetting foreign students after Pensacola shooting Overnight Defense: House passes compromise defense bill | Turkey sanctions advance in Senate over Trump objections | Top general says military won't be 'raping, burning and pillaging' after Trump pardons 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT
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 CassidyThis bipartisan plan is the most progressive approach to paid parental leave Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills Key House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills 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.