Rand Paul clarifies his stance on vaccines

Defensive? Sen. Rand Paul on voluntary vaccines
Defensive? Sen. Rand Paul on voluntary vaccines

Sen. Rand Paul attempted Tuesday to clarify his views on vaccines after his comments on the subject to CNBC a day earlier.

Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, previously said vaccinations should be voluntary and on Monday linked them to mental disorders. Following his comments to CNBC, members of Paul's own party—including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal—came out strongly in favor of vaccinations.

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"I did not say vaccines caused disorders, just that they were temporally related—I did not allege causation. I support vaccines, I receive them myself and I had all of my children vaccinated. In fact, today I received the booster shot for the vaccines I got when I went to Guatemala last year," Paul said in the statement.

In an interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Monday, Paul spoke of childhood disorders that surfaced after vaccinations.

"I've heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines," he said on CNBC. "I'm not arguing vaccines are a bad idea. I think they are a good thing. But I think the parent should have some input. The state doesn't own your children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom."

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Paul tweeted a photo of himself receiving a booster vaccine on Tuesday.

Rand Paul tweet.

During a House subcommittee hearing on Tuesday morning, several of the nation's top health-care officials emphasized that parents should vaccinate their children. They also uniformly agreed with contemporary scientific literature that there is no proven connection between modern vaccinations and autism.