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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks with reporters as he leaves an inaugural ceremony for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in Annapolis, Md. on Jan. 21, 2015. Patrick Semansky—AP

Chris Christie Calls for ‘Balance’ in Vaccine Debate

Amid a measles outbreak in the U.S. has infected more than 100 people

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that the government should “balance” parent choice and public health when it comes to measles vaccinations, in comments that broke with President Barack Obama—and prevailing science on the issue, according to TIME, NBC.

The comment from the 2016 Republican presidential contender came during remarks to reporters in England, the Washington Post reports, and follows news that a measles outbreak in the United States has infected more than 100 people in 14 states.

“Mary Pat and I have had our children vaccinated and we think that it’s an important part of being sure we protect their health and the public health,” Christie said. “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.”

Anti-vaccination activists say the shots can lead to autism and other conditions, but the overwhelming scientific consensus says that’s not the case. Christie’s statement came the day after Obama called on parents to vaccinate their children.

“The science is, you know, pretty indisputable,” Obama told NBC News. “We’ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren’t reasons to not.”

Christie is traveling to England on a trade mission that is largely seen as an attempt to boost his foreign policy credentials ahead of a likely 2016 run.

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