Rand Paul: Most Vaccines Should Be Voluntary



Rand Paul told conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham on Monday that he’s “not anti-vaccine at all” but that he believed “most of them ought to be voluntary.” Paul, who has a medical degree from Duke and continues to practice as an ophthalmologist, said he was “annoyed” about the number of vaccinations doctors wanted his children to take when they were born, The Daily Beast reports.

“[The doctors] wanted them to take a Hepatitis B [vaccine] in the neonatal nursery. And it’s like, that’s a sexually transmitted disease, or a blood-borne disease, and I didn’t like them getting 10 vaccines at once. So I actually delayed my kids’ vaccines, and had them staggered over time,” Paul told Ingraham. “There are times in which there can be some rules, but for the most part it ought to be voluntary.”

Paul also referred to a previous plan by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to mandate young women get a vaccine against the human papillomavirus. “While I think it’s a good idea to take the vaccine, I think that’s a personal decision for individuals to take, when they take it,” Paul said.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. As it does every winter, the Israeli Health Ministry is campaigning heavily to persuade the public to get vaccinated against the flu. Nearly one and a half million people have taken the shot this season, the ministry says. Yet resistance is rearing its head – among doctors and nurses, of all people.

    The underlying irony is that while an overwhelming majority of doctors tout the benefits of inoculation for the general public, only 35 percent of medical practitioners get immunized themselves, the Health Ministry admits.

    At least they’re in good company – studies done in Europe and the United States show similar scorn for the shot among doctors and nurses, ascribed to a combination of “personal attitude” and misinformation. At least in the United States, the situation is changing: now due to regulatory changes, somewhere between 80 to 90 percent of healthcare workers get the shot, says Dr. Arnold Monto, professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan and a global influenza expert.

    Israel’s “vaccine refuseniks” cite a twofold rationale: they don’t believe they’re likely to get sick, and they don’t like being told what to do.

    “Personally, why don’t I take the shot? Because it’s my version of anarchism,” says one physician in Jerusalem, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The shot makes him feel sick for days, he adds: Why be sick now rather than take the chance of being sick a few days, later?

    Maybe because when it gets bad, influenza can kill. The Jerusalem physician however shrugs that he doesn’t belong to a high-risk group, and, he points out, he encourages his family to get the shot.

    Flu shots do matter

    Medical experts consider immunization, with an attenuated or inactive virus, to be the best way to prevent the spread of influenza. It’s particularly important for people with weaker immune systems, like seniors and children…

    “The influenza vaccine is good, it’s not great. Everyone is working on improving it,” says Monto.

    Yet there is good reason to be vaccinated, he says. “Seasonal influenza kills people every year. But even more importantly, there’s concern about a major pandemic, which would be disruptive, and which would be so much worse than Ebola.”

    The most feared security threat

    In a paper published in 2007, the World Health Organization calledinfluenza pandemics “the most feared security threat.”

    Flu is easy to catch in any case. If a strain develops that is “fully transmissible” –meaning that it infects people fluidly and quickly– the WHO predicts that a quarter of the world population could catch it in a matter of months. That would affect roughly 1.75 billion people.

    “Even if the virus caused relatively mild symptoms, the economic and social disruption arising from sudden surges of illness in so many people – occurring almost simultaneously throughout the world – would be enormous,” says the WHO report.

    It’s happened before. In 1918-1919, the so-called “Spanish Flu” pandemic affected approximately one-third of the world population, according to the CDC, resulting in between 50 to 100 million deaths. Today mankind is armed with better knowledge and vaccines, too. But pandemic could recur under the right conditions.

    Influenza-related diseases kill 1,386 people a year in Israel, on average..

    Yet doctors and nurses still shun the shot, whether because they mistakenly figure they’re immunized by sheer exposure – or because they don’t feel like it.

    Don’t shame me, I’m a doctor

    Some Israeli hospitals and medical centers urge doctors to wear stickers that read “I also got vaccinated for the flu.”

    In October, the Ethics Committee of the Israeli Medical Association took a position against the stickers, on the grounds that they were counter-productive. Their use is tantamount to peer pressure to get immunized (and wear the sticker), which could actually diminish the doctors’ willingness to actually get the shot, the IMA wrote.

    “It makes you feel not respected,” says one pediatrician who works in the Tel Aviv area. “There needs to be a good reason to get immunized. You need to convince me. But to shame me? I’m a doctor.”

    On the global stage, Israel is lauded for its efforts on behalf of vaccinating the public: It is one of few places in the world that has such an active campaign to promote vaccination, says Monto. But Israeli health care workers are free to give reign to their libertarian streak, placing a premium on their individual freedom over the collective good.

  2. Rand Paul is also a doctor. He should know better. He would allow deadly diseases to go unchecked in the name of “freedom”. May HaShem protect us from fools like this — by keeping them from having any power to institute their foolishness.

    This should not be a Democratic vs. Republican issue. The highest vaccination rate in America is in deep red Mississippi, which contrary to Christie and Paul does not allow for any parental choice in this matter.

  3. Freedom isn’t free – and neither is living in the world. No person lives alone, with no ties or help from others. As part of society you have an obligation to the other people in it whose existence makes yours possible. If you doubt it, look it up in the Torah – or try Baba Metzia and the rules about a “bor b’reshus harabbim.” Or read R’ Zelig Pliskin’s “Love Your Neighbor” for a full treatment.

    If you are at risk for a contagious disease and can be vaccinated against it, you have an obligation to get the shot – otherwise you yourself become a “bor b’reshus harabbim.” We are getting Americanized – to the point where we simply mimic what some non-Jewish groups say without consulting our own Torah.

    By the way, Mr. Paul is an EYE doctor. He didn’t do general practice, pediatrics, family medicine or public health, the fields that give hands-on experience with contagious diseases. Maybe a nice guy, but it isn’t his field.