More than three dozen doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are criticizing Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski after NBC Connecticut aired exclusive video of the candidate expressing skepticism of childhood vaccines and the state law requiring kids get immunized in order to attend school.
The group of health professionals includes pediatricians, registered nurses, and other specialists.
"As pediatricians, it is deeply concerning to us that a candidate for governor would spread flagrant disinformation about childhood vaccinations," The group wrote of Stefanowski’s comments.
They went on to describe Stefanowski’s position as, "downright dangerous," and "irresponsible."
Stefanowski spoke to the Quiet Corner Tea Party in July of this year as he was courting voters for the GOP nomination.
The video obtained by NBC Connecticut showed an exchange between the GOP nominee and a participant at the meeting who could not be seen on camera.
The questions were exclusively about mandatory vaccination requirements for students to attend public school.
Stefanowski said of immunizations, "I would look at it. I don’t think we should be forcing people to inject a ton of chemicals into their kids but I would want to see more about it."
He added, "We shouldn’t be dumping a lot of drugs into kids for no reason," and said parents who home school their children should not have to vaccinate their children.
A spokesman for Stefanowski told NBC Connecticut, "Bob's position here is in line with the law. While he believes that the best practice is to vaccinate your children, he does not believe that the government should be able to legally force you to do so."
Connecticut’s immunization standards, while codified in state statute, were not developed in Connecticut. They come from organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Mick Bolduc has been with the Connecticut Department of Public Health for 28 years, and runs the Connecticut Immunization Program. The program provides vaccines free of charge to physicians, so they can distribute them to patients and children, increasing access to the medicine.
Bolduc says as Western Europe is dealing with a measles outbreak, Connecticut isn’t for a simple reason.
"We’re not seeing outbreaks here in Connecticut, and one of the reasons why we’re not seeing outbreaks here in Connecticut is because we have a highly vaccinated population."
Bolduc said, "If we have a highly vaccinated population, yes. We might see sporadic cases but you’re not going to see a sustained outbreak if you have a highly vaccinated population."
Stefanowski also says in the video that he and his wife decided that immunizations were best for his three daughters and said he would not commit to any kind of hypothetical legislation changing the state’s vaccination laws.