A debate on vaccines has infected the nascent 2016 Republican presidential primary. Rand Paul, for example, said that the right of parents to refuse vaccines is “an issue of freedom.” To bolster his point, he claimed that vaccines can give children “profound mental disorders,” and idea that is completely unsupported by medical literature.
Similarly, Chris Christie framed the vaccination issue as a matter of “parental choice.” (Faced with mounting criticism, Christie later backtracked partially, saying only some vaccines should be optional.)
Monday night on Fox News, Megyn Kelly provided the antidote. Appearing on The O’Reilly Factor, Kelly spoke out forcefully for mandatory vaccines. (O’Reilly agreed.) Speaking directly into the camera, Kelly said, “I want to say on the record, I have three children under the age of six. I vaccinated all of them. On time. As the doctor prescribed. Nothing was delayed.” She noted that the science showing vaccinations are safe and beneficial for children is “very certain today.”
Kelly predicted the issue would continue to play a role in the Republican presidential primary because it had become about “Big Brother.” “On the other hand, some things do require some involvement of Big Brother,” Kelly said.
Kelly may want to have a conversation with her colleague, Sean Hannity. On his program Monday, Hannity said that “parents should have the choice” on whether to vaccinate their children. Hannity featured commentary from Dr. Eric Braverman who told millions of views that “no one” is giving their children the full course of vaccine shots. According to Braverman there is an “overreliance” on vaccines to prevent disease.
The segment featured more medically accurate commentary from Dr. Marc Siegel, who accused Braverman of perpetrating a “bait and switch.” Even Siegel, however, opposed mandatory vaccinations. Braverman concluded the segment by claiming that vaccines “don’t always work” and attributing the measles outbreak in Disneyland to the combination of heat and junk food.
In 2015, there have been more than 100 cases of measles reported in the U.S. across 14 states. The Center For Disease Control is “very concerned” that the country could be on its way to a major measles outbreak. Already, dozens of babies, too young to get vaccinated, have been forced into isolation.
Although Megyn Kelly has a growing reputation of standing up to some of the worst excesses on Fox News, not everyone is impressed.