Gary Johnson Changes His Mind on Mandatory Childhood Vaccinations

NewImageThere is an interesting debate among libertarians about whether you can freely choose not to be immunized, or if the state has the ability to force that on society because they are responsible for their own microbes. 

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has apparently had a change of heart with regard to requiring childhood vaccinations. In my earlier evaluation of Johnson’s stands on various science policy issues, I reported that I could “find no statements from Johnson suggesting that he thinks that vaccination might cause autism. In 2015, Our America Initiative, a non-profit co-founded by Gary Johnson, announced that it supported a Mississippi advocacy group’s effort to place “childhood vaccination decisions into the hands of parents and doctors.” I gave Johnson a “PASS” based on the fact that he hadn’t fallen for the scientifically false claim that vaccination causes autism.

Now, according to Vermont Public Radio, Johnson has rethought his views on mandatory vaccination. Johnson says in the interview:

I’ve come to find out that without mandatory vaccines, the vaccines that would in fact be issued would not be effective,” he said. “So … it’s dependent that you have mandatory vaccines so that every child is immune. Otherwise, not all children will be immune even though they receive a vaccine.”

Johnson said he believes vaccination policy should be handled at the local level.

“In my opinion, this is a local issue. If it ends up to be a federal issue, I would come down on the side of science and I would probably require that vaccine,” he said.

Johnson said his position changed recently.

“It’s an evolution actually just in the last few months, just in the last month or so,” he said. “I was under the belief that … ‘Why require a vaccine? If I don’t want my child to have a vaccine and you want yours to, let yours have the vaccine and they’ll be immune.’ Well, it turns out that that’s not the case, and it may sound terribly uninformed on my part, but I didn’t realize that.”