What the media are reporting: [stir pot with half-truth] Rand Paul says vaccines are dangerous [watch ratings go up as both sides tune in, cash out with ad revenue]
What anti-vaxxers are hearing: OMG—Rand Paul says we’re right not to vaccinate!!! Huzzah! Rand 2016!!!!!!! Rand for dictator for life!!
What pro-vaxxers are hearing: OMG—Rand Paul says we shouldn’t vaccinate! What a loon!!! Anyone-not-named-Rand 2016!!!
What Rand actually says in response to the unprofessionally asked question, “Did you really just say…that you think most vaccines should be voluntary?”:
“Well, I guess being for freedom would be really unusual? But I guess I don’t understand the point why that would be controversial.”
“I think vaccines are one of the greatest medical breakthroughs that we had.”
“I think public awareness of how good vaccines are…is a great idea.”
“The state doesn’t own your children.”
And he acknowledges that vaccines do have dangers. Which they do. That’s not really in serious dispute. The choice to vaccinate comes down to a risk/benefit analysis in which you must weigh the likelihood and possible consequences of your child catching a disease in the wild against the possibility of an adverse reaction to a vaccine.
I and the majority of people may disagree with the risk management choice some make when presented with those statistics, we may even be able to factually disprove some of the information they are using, but that doesn’t give us the right to run roughshod over their job as parents to evaluate information and make decisions for the benefit of their own children.