The Slatest

As a Senate Candidate, Rand Paul Cozied Up to Physicians’ Group Critical of Vaccination

Rand Paul.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

On Monday, Rand Paul cannonballed into the national conversation on vaccinations—and the growing, problematic trend of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children—saying he’s not anti-vaccination per se, it’s just that he’s “heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.” Despite such statements sounding suspiciously anti-vaxx, Paul—as a doctor—insists that vaccines are “a good thing.”

During his 2010 Senate campaign, however, the New York Times reports, Paul cozied up to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, “a small physicians’ association that has publicized discredited medical theories, including possible links between vaccines and autism and between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer.” Paul, then a dark-horse candidate in the Kentucky race, spoke at the group’s annual meeting boasting “he had been a member for more than two decades and that he relied on its research, statistics and views about the role of government in medicine,” according to the Times.