New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his State Of The State address, Jan. 13, 2015, in Trenton, N.J.
Photo by Julio Cortez/AP

Chris Christie urges ‘balance’ on vaccination choice

Updated

Update: A spokesman for Chris Christie clarified the governor’s comments on vaccines. “To be clear: 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,” he said.

When asked of the potential risks of not vaccinating children, Christie told the media “I didn’t say I’m leaving people the option. What I’m saying is that you have to have that balance in considering parental concerns because no parent cares about anything more than they care about protecting their own child’s health and so we have to have that conversation, but that has to move and shift in my view from disease type. Not every vaccine is created equal and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others. So that’s what I mean by that so that I’m not misunderstood.”

CAMBRIDGE, England – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday said the government needs to strike a “balance” between public health and parental choice in making decisions about vaccinating kids, even as an outbreak of measles is spreading among unvaccinated people in the United States.

Related: Chris Christie expressed concern about vaccine autism link in ‘09

“It’s much more important what you think as a parent than what you think as a public official.”
Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ)
“We vaccinate ours [kids], and so, you know that’s the best expression I can give you of my opinion,” Christie said when asked if he would urge Americans to vaccinate their children. “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.”

Christie is in the United Kingdom for a three-day trip that’s officially billed as a trade mission for his state but largely viewed as a chance to build foreign policy credibility ahead of the 2016 presidential election. He made the comments standing outside MedImmune, a company with business ties to New Jersey that makes vaccines and biologic drugs.

Related: Christie joins ranks of 2016 hopefuls making trips to London

Pressed about whether he believes vaccines are dangerous, Christie responded: “I didn’t say that – I said different disease types can be more lethal so that the concern would be measuring whatever the perceived danger is by a vaccine and we’ve had plenty of that over a period of time versus what the risk to public health is. And that’s exactly what I mean by what I said.”

President Obama on Sunday told Americans, “get your kids vaccinated.” He told NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie, “The science is, you know, pretty indisputable.”

Morning Joe, 2/2/15, 6:31 AM ET

'Devastating' numbers for Chris Christie

NJ Gov. Chris Christie could face an uphill climb in Iowa if new poll numbers are to be believed. The Morning Joe panel discusses. MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt also reports on Christie’s recent trip to London.

Chris Christie, New Jersey and Vaccinations

Chris Christie urges 'balance' on vaccination choice

Updated