Major infectious disease outbreaks are not political debates. There isn't a Republican side and a Democrat side. There isn't a timer giving both sides equal time.
There's only life and death.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would be wise to realize this fact before trying to appear bi-partisan on important issues like deadly diseases.
Christie is known for taking strong positions so it's shocking to see him wobble on such an important issue like whether parents should vaccinate their kids? Specifically, Christie, while on a trip to England, was asked about the measles outbreak in America and responding to a question on whether parents should vaccinate, called for "balance" and said parents should have a "choice" in the matter:
We vaccinate ours [kids], and so, you know that's the best expression I can give you of my opinion…You know it's much more important what you think as a parent than what you think as a public official. And that's what we do. But 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.
One can only assume he wasn't prepared for the question. But what's odd is that, as NBC News reports, Christie made the milquetoast comment while standing outside a British company that makes vaccines and biologic drugs. This company has ties to New Jersey…or at least did, until Christie made his ill-advised remarks. As someone who worked for a variety of politicians over the years, did no one on his staff think to advise the Governor about making comments that could be interpreted as anti-vaccine?
Later that day, Christie's office issued a “oops” statement clarifying his remarks, stating: "The Governor believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated. At the same time different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for balance in which ones government should mandate."
Uh huh. Fine. But strident anti-vaxer parents won't see his clarifying statement. Rather, they’ll be empowered to make more bad choices.