The notion that liberty trumps the health and safety of others is much the rage in some political circles, with pressure groups arising against common-sense protection of childhood vaccinations.
Gov. Chris Christie, of New Jersey, is one of the latest politicians to get in trouble on this issue.
In what the ordinarily friendly Wall Street Journal called “a meandering meditation on parental rights,” Christie suggested that “parents need to have some measure of choice” in vaccinating their children; adding fuel to the fire is Christie had supported an anti-vaccination group in his first campaign for governor in 2009.
The Journal’s harsh editorial criticizing Christie resulted: America’s “real public health problem” is politicians’ lack of common sense.
We agree with the Journal and with Bobby Jindal, now governor of Louisiana but formerly a top U.S. health policy official.
“I urge all parents to get their kids vaccinated,” Jindal said in a statement Tuesday.
“I worked in health care for a long time,” the governor noted. “I have no reservations about whether or not it is a good idea and desirable for all children to be vaccinated.”
The widespread use of vaccines against measles and other diseases have made potentially fatal childhood ailments rare, but they’ve made a comeback in some places because parents are negligent or because social-media rumors of vaccines causing death or dire diseases get traction with the public. Louisiana, our governor noted, is aggressively working to ensure that all children are vaccinated before school age, whatever the level of family income.
By implication, Jindal called Christie “irresponsible” if he undermines public confidence in vaccinations “that have been tested and proven to protect public health.”
We could not agree more and hope that parents across the state and nation will listen to the governor’s admonitions.
“Personally, I would not send my kids to a school that did not require vaccinations,” the father of three said. “Vaccinations are important. I urge every parent to get them (for their children). Every one.”
That’s a good prescription, governor.