Buttigieg under fire for vaccination stand: ‘OK, well Mayor Pete is canceled’

(File Photo: screenshot)

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has come under fire for his stand on mandatory vaccinations and his belief that “some exceptions” apply.

The South Bend, Indiana mayor faced criticism for his stance after responding to questions about vaccinations and indicating that states have the right to mandate vaccinations but exemptions should be allowed if there is “no public health crisis.”

(File Photo: screenshot)

With the U.S. seeing the worst measles outbreak in decades, renewed attention has been brought on vaccines and the exemptions allowed on religious, personal or medical grounds. Presidential candidates for 2020 were asked about their views in a report published Tuesday by BuzzFeed News, and Buttigieg’s response sparked an instant social media outcry.

“The law of the land for more than a century has been that states may enforce mandatory vaccination for public safety to prevent the spread of a dangerous disease. Pete does support some exceptions, except during a public health emergency to prevent an outbreak,” a spokesman for the Indiana Democrat said.

According to BuzzFeed:

In particular, Buttigieg believes exemptions are appropriate for people who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons. Personal belief and religious exemptions should only be allowed in states that aren’t facing a public health crisis and where herd immunity rates of vaccination are maintained.

 

“These exemptions include medical exemptions in all cases (as in cases where it is unsafe for the individual to get vaccinated), and personal/religious exemptions if states can maintain local herd immunity and there is no public health crisis,” the spokesperson said.

The 37-year-old progressive’s stance sparked some negative attention, prompting a “clarifying statement” by Wednesday.

“Pete believes vaccines are safe and effective and are necessary to maintaining public health,” the spokesperson said. “There is no evidence that vaccines are unsafe, and he believes children should be immunized to protect their health. He is aware that in most states the law provides for some kinds of exemptions. He believes only medical exemptions should be allowed.”

While some of the Democratic 2020 contenders, including Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Obama HUD Secretary Julián Castro, and Hawaii’s Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, did not respond to the BuzzFeed questions, many others did and supported vaccinations.

President Trump addressed the measles outbreak while speaking to reporters outside of the White House last week.

“They have to get the shots,” he said. “The vaccinations are so important.”

Buttigieg sparked a backlash on Twitter as his response to the vaccination question was reported.

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Frieda Powers

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