Ben Carson: No One Has Right to Refuse Mandatory Vaccinations

Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, a possible Republican presidential candidate, is weighing in on the contentious issue of mandatory vaccinations – asserting people shouldn’t be allowed to refuse shots on religious or philosophical grounds.

“Although I strongly believe in individual rights and the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit, I also recognize that public health and public safety are extremely important in our society, Carson said in a statement released to The Hill and BuzzFeed News.

“Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious, or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them.”

But, he added, “Obviously there are exceptional situations to virtually everything and we must have a mechanism whereby those can be heard.”

Carson’s comments came the same day two other possible GOP presidential contenders took on the issue – and amid an outbreak of more than 100 cases of measles, affecting 14 states.