POLITICS

Nurse Chris Christie Quarantined For Ebola Goes After Governor On Vaccines

02/03/2015 12:06 pm ET | Updated Feb 03, 2015

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) came out as a vaccine choicer Tuesday, saying it should be up to parents to decide whether to inoculate their children against deadly diseases that could infect the rest of the population.

His stance was looser than the one he took last year against Kaci Hickox, the nurse Christie forcibly quarantined over Ebola fears when she returned to the United States after helping patients in West Africa. There was never any evidence that Hickox had symptoms of Ebola, a far less contagious disease than the measles, which is currently spreading across the country due to parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.

In the end, Hickox never contracted Ebola.

On Monday night, Hickox went on "All In with Chris Hayes" on MSNBC and blasted Christie for his vaccination comments.

"I think this is a good example of Gov. Christie making some very ill-informed statements. We heard it a lot during the Ebola discussion, and now it seems to have happened again," said Hickox.

Hickox added that unlike Christie, she had first-hand experience with measles and what happens when there isn't widespread vaccination.

"We know that vaccines are safe, and we know that vaccines save lives," she said. "I have worked in a measles outbreak in northern Nigeria before. We were seeing about 2,000 children a week with measles. It is a scary disease. I know that these families of these 100 people who have the disease now could tell you a little bit about what the disease looks like and how much misery it causes. After the vaccine was implemented in 1963, there was a large reduction in cases, about 98 percent. And I believe it was 1989 to '91, there was a resurgence. ... The stakes are high. We have to protect our most vulnerable populations."

Christie made his controversial vaccination comments to reporters during his three-day trip to London, as he weighs whether to jump in the 2016 presidential field. Christie said he and his wife had vaccinated their children but understood "that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well, so that’s the balance that the government has to decide."

Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts later clarified the governor's comments, saying, "To be clear: The Governor believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated. At the same time different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for balance in which ones government should mandate."

Christie's comments weren't entirely surprising. While running for governor in 2009, he met with an anti-vaccine group and wrote a letter supporting their work.

Watch Hickox above.

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