[She added an additional tweet that] vaccine mandates are too "draconian" & "Orwellian" [but later rescinded those terms].
"I understand that many vaccines are important and save lives," Williamson said. "I also understand some of the skepticism that abounds today about drugs which are rushed to market by Big Pharma. I am sorry that I made comments which sounded as though I question the validity of life-saving vaccines. That is not my feeling and I realize that I misspoke."
When asked about her stance on religious and personal belief exemptions for vaccinations, Williamson replied through a spokeswoman: "I support vaccines. Public safety must be carefully balanced with the right of individuals to make their own decisions."
Williamson has a history of skeptical comments about vaccinations. President Trump has previously proudly embraced the disproved theory that vaccines cause autism.
"They have to get the shots. The vaccinations are so important. This is really going around now. They have to get their shots," Trump told CNN's Joe Johns when asked what his message is for parents.
Trump first weighed in on the issue on Twitter in 2012."Massive combined inoculations to small children is the cause for big increase in autism," he claimed. He made a similar argument in 2014, tweeting, "Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn't feel good and changes--AUTISM. Many such cases!"
Q: It was time to be very aggressive. We tried hard to use the normal public health outreach efforts and education efforts but there is a strong anti-vaxxer movement that really was affecting particularly one of our neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Williamsburg. And we couldn't let that go unanswered. So I ordered that we would mandate vaccinations. Now since that order almost 1,000 kids have gotten vaccinated. And we believe over the next few weeks we will see this crisis end. But we have had to close a few schools, in fact the religious schools that had too many kids coming to school unvaccinated. We had to give out violations to individuals with real fines attached. This is not something you ever want to do, but measles can be fatal. So it was time to be tough and time to show there would be consequences.
DONALD TRUMP: We should educate the public on the values of a comprehensive vaccination program. We have been successful with other public service programs and this seems to be of enough importance that we should put resources against this task.
JILL STEIN: Vaccines are a critical part of our public health system. We need universal health care as a right to ensure that everyone has access to critical vaccines. The best way to overcome resistance to vaccination is to acknowledge and address concerns and build trust with hesitant parents. We can do that by removing corporate influence from our regulatory agencies to eliminate apparent conflicts of interest.
TRUMP: The implication of the question is that one must provide more resources to research and public health enterprises. In a time of limited resources, one must ensure that the nation is getting the greatest bang for the buck. We cannot simply throw money at these institutions and assume that the nation will be well served. What we ought to focus on applying resources to those areas where we need the most work. Our efforts to support research and public health initiatives will have to be balanced with other demands for scarce resources. My administration will work to establish national priorities and then we will work to make sure that adequate resources are assigned to achieve our goals.
CARSON: There have been numerous studies, and they have not demonstrated that there is any correlation between vaccinations and autism.
Q [to Trump]: As president, you would be in charge of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, both of which say you are wrong.
TRUMP: Autism has become an epidemic. It has gotten totally out of control. I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. You take this little baby, and you pump--I mean, it looks like it's meant for a horse, not for a child. Just the other day, a 2-year-old child went to have the vaccine, and got a fever; now is autistic. I'm in favor of vaccines, do them over a longer period of time, same amount. And I think you're going to see a big impact on autism.
CARSON: We are probably giving way too many in too short a period of time.
A: Bernie believes that vaccinations are safe and effective, and that electing not to vaccinate is dangerous and wrong: "I think obviously vaccinations work. Vaccination has worked for many, many years. I am sensitive to the fact that there are some families who disagree but the difficulty is if I have a kid who is suffering from an illness who is subjected to a kid who walks into a room without vaccines that could kill that child and that's wrong."
HPV is a virus linked to several forms of cancer, including cervical cancer, and only around 20 percent of Hoosiers are currently vaccinated against it. The bill was defeated after several lawmakers voiced concerns about the state requiring parents to vaccinate.
Pence says setting a goal could lead to a vaccination requirement. "I just think this is a matter better left to parents in consultation with their doctors," Pence says. He says the state already does enough by providing information to parents about the vaccine.
President Barack Obama said parents should get their kids vaccinated. "The science is pretty indisputable," Obama said. "We've looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren't reasons to not."
The White House has stopped short of saying that there should be a law requiring parents to get their children vaccinated. "The president believes it shouldn't require a law for people to exercise common sense and do the right thing," a White House press secretary said. "And again, this is the right thing for them to do both by their own children, but by also other children in the community. They have a responsibility to do this. "
Hillary Clinton weighed in with a jab at vaccine naysayers: "The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and vaccines work."
Howard Dean, a presidential candidate in 2004 and a former DNC chairman, said there are three groups of people who object to required vaccines: "One is people who are very much scared about their kids getting autism, which is an idea that has been completely discredited. Two, is entitled people who don't want to put any poison in their kids and view this as poison, which is ignorance more than anything else. And three, people who are antigovernment in any way."
"But the truth," added Dean, a physician, "is you can be conservative without putting kids in harm's way."
A: Today, there are too many Americans who do not get the preventive health care services they need to stay healthy. Many people put off preventive care because the deductibles and copays are too expensive. That's why I fought for the Affordable Care Act, which will make sure all Americans have access to quality preventive health care services. Under the Affordable Care Act, Americans can now get vital preventive services--including the full suite of routine vaccines recommend by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices--with no co-pay or deductible. The health care law also created the Prevention and Public Health Fund, an investment in promoting wellness, preventing disease, and investing in public health infrastructure across the country. Ultimately, I believe the health care law is a significant step forward in ensuring that every American has access to the preventive care and immunizations that they need to stay healthy.