A video has surfaced of Bob Stefanowski, the Republican candidate for governor of Connecticut, replying to a question about vaccination by saying; “We shouldn’t be dumping a lot of drugs into kids for no reason.” Two weeks before election day, Stefanowski is a slight underdog to be elected to the leadership of one of America's most educated populations.
So far Stefanowski hasn't identified who he thinks are advocating children vaccinations without a reason.
It's unclear whether Stefanowski genuinely thinks some vaccinations serve no purpose, or was playing to his audience. The statement was made at a Tea Party event during the primary campaign, when Stefanowski was competing for the Republican nomination, which he eventually won with just 29.4 percent in a five-way race.
However, Stefanowski was not specifically asked what he thought of the science of vaccination. Instead, the question was whether decisions on allowing unvaccinated children to attend schools should be made by the state government or local Boards of Education.
Stefanowski replied: “I think it depends on the vaccination. I mean, you know, we shouldn’t be dumping a lot of drugs into kids for no reason.” Steganowski also said: “I don't think we should be forcing people to inject a ton of chemicals into their kids...”
Unvaccinated children with infectious diseases can pose a risk to others who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, such as compromised immune systems. For this reason, Connecticut requires children to have vaccinations against nine diseases to attend schools, unless they have medical or religious exemptions. Devolving this power to local bodies, seen as more pliable, is a popular policy among anti-vaxxers, with some support from those who support decisions being made locally on as many issues as possible.
It's unclear, however, how a system that mixed the two ideas would avoid degenerating into chaotic confusion, let alone which ones would be decided at which level.
Stefanowski also voiced support for parents who home-school their children being allowed to not vaccinate them, presumably assuming home-schooled children will never socialize with those who may be vulnerable.
Grainy footage of the event was leaked to state Democratic organizers, who passed it on to NBC. Stefanowski told NBC his daughters were vaccinated, but he did not believe governments should be enforcing the practice.
Scientific consensus has played an unusually big part in many candidates' campaigns for November 6 mid-terms. Most, however, have been referring to their willingness to listen to the experts on climate change, but in Connecticut, it seems immunology and epidemiology are on the ballot too.