In an interview with Vermont Public Radio, Johnson made some scientifically inaccurate statements about vaccines in an attempt to explain his recent change in supporting mandatory vaccination.

Misstatement #1: “. . . Without mandatory vaccines, the vaccines that would in fact be issued would not be effective.”

Science Fact #1: Each person who receives a vaccine creates a varied antibody response in their immune system regardless of how many people around them are vaccinated.

Misstatement #2: “It’s dependent that you have mandatory vaccines so that every child is immune. Otherwise, not all children will be immune even though they receive a vaccine.”

Science Fact #2: Not every child will become immune from their vaccines. Some vaccines only provide immunity in as little as 20% of people (the flu vaccine). Others (like the whooping cough vaccine) only work in 50% to 80% of people, depending on the study, and it wears off very quickly (within two years). No vaccine is 100% effective.

Misstatement #3: In reference to the concept of “herd immunity,” Johnson recollects that he used to believe “If I don’t want my child to have a vaccine and you want yours to, let yours have the vaccine and they’ll be immune.” Now Johnson reports “it turns out that that’s not the case.”

Science Fact #3: Herd immunity cannot be achieved with the artificial-induced immunity of vaccines because no vaccine is 100% effective and no vaccine provides lifelong immunity. Historically, all children caught the routine childhood diseases and became immune for life. They grew up to be immune adults, unharmed by their own children who also went through the routine childhood diseases. And most important, babies were all born with mom’s natural immunity. This is the actual definition of herd immunity.

But perhaps the biggest concern is what Johnson didn’t say. This discussion did not include addressing the staggering 70 recommended doses on the CDC schedule (the schedule has tripled since 1983), nor did it even mention vaccine safety, side effects, or vaccine injuries. There are 2000 severe vaccine reactions reported to the CDC every year in the U.S. alone, side effects that result in a prolonged hospitalization, permanent disability, or death. To mandate this complex medical treatment on every single American child goes against classic Libertarian policy, which focuses on creating a free society.


In a speech yesterday, Johnson clarified his position with the following statement:

“I support a person’s right to choose. So when it comes to vaccinations, alright, we should be able to make the decisions as to whether or not we want to vaccinate our kids. Now I choose to vaccinate my kids, and you never say never . . . “

He then discusses that, perhaps, if there was an extremely serious and deadly outbreak, “You might find me mandating that vaccine.”

Read the VPR Gary Johnson interview here.