New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday parents should have some choice on whether to vaccinate their children, a position he’s taken before but one that drew a new level of attention amid a U.S. measles outbreak and his recent moves toward running for president.
The political significance of Christie’s remarks was amplified when his office partially backtracked a short time later, saying the governor believes “with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated.”
Christie’s stumble into the vaccine issue came as a measles outbreak in California centered on parents who do not vaccinate their children.
Christie was asked during a visit to Britain, after touring a plant which manufactures FluMist. He said that he and his wife had vaccinated their children, calling that “the best expression I can give you of my opinion.”
“But,” Christie added, “I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well. So that’s the balance that the government has to decide.”
All states require children to get certain vaccinations to enroll in school, although California and New Jersey are among 20 states that let parents opt out by obtaining a waiver.