People aren’t happy with Pete Buttigieg after one of his spokespeople said he supports ‘personal/religious exemptions’ for vaccines.
BuzzFeed News published the statement after they asked the 2020 presidential candidates their stance on vaccines.
According to Buttigieg’s spokesperson, the South Bend, Indiana Mayor supports these exemptions with the qualification that ‘states can maintain local herd immunity and there is no public health crisis’.
The statement further read: ‘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.’
Following the publication of BuzzFeed’s article, Buttigieg’s team released a new, ‘clarifying’ statement.
‘Pete believes vaccines are safe and effective and are necessary to maintaining public health,’ the second statement 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.’
It also stated that Buttigieg ‘believes only medical exemptions should be allowed’, contradicting the earlier statement.
Other candidates, such as Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, expressed explicit support for ending personal and religious exemptions.
Twitter users publicized their criticism of Buttigieg’s stance.
The only exemption should be if a person isn't healthy enough to receive a vaccine. There is no herd immunity if people opt out just because they aren't feeling it.
— M.M. Schill (@mm_schill) May 1, 2019
Apparently science is not one of the 29 languages he knows?
— Shakira Kurosawa (@artboiled) May 1, 2019
— Jenn (@electricself) May 1, 2019
— Christie Wilcox (@NerdyChristie) May 1, 2019
Many also weren’t happy with the updated statement.
“I support personal/religious exemptions”
“What I meant was, I only support medical exemptions”
— You Got Served (@davieyo) May 1, 2019
So literally the opposite of what he said?
— Kevin the Foul Mouthed Leftist Demon (@IAmKevinBates) May 1, 2019
What’s going on with the US and vaccines?
In 2000, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the elimination of measles in the United States.
This year, there have already been at least 695 new cases of the disease. These primarily came from outbreaks in New York City and Washington, although UCLA in California had to quarantine over 700 people exposed to an outbreak.
These new outbreaks are due to the anti-vaccination movement in the country, led by people sharing false and fraudulent scientific information.
This movement started in earnest in 1998, when a highly respected medical journal published an article by a former doctor who linked the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines to autism. Other medical professionals debunked the article and the doctor lost his medical license.
Despite the debunking, many people still advocate against vaccinations, popularized by anti-vaxx celebrities like Jenny McCarthy.
Since its inception, the movement has also touted an anti-autism message, implying that children being susceptible to deadly diseases is preferable to them being autistic, even though there is no evidence linking the two. Now, many people cite false and generic medical and religious reasons not to vaccinate themselves or their children.
Some teens are now getting vaccinated without their parents’ consent — and even testifying before Congress over it.