Texas lawmaker accuses doctor of backing vaccine 'mandates' to boost profits

A Texas lawmaker and a pro-vaccine doctor got into a Twitter spat on Tuesday when the Republican representative accused the pediatrician of peddling “sorcery” and accused those defending science of being "typical leftist(s) trying to take credit for something only The Lord God Almighty is in control of."

Rep. Jonathan Stickland unleashed a verbal attack after Dr. Peter Hotez tweeted that the latest increase in vaccine exemptions in Texas by parents claiming conscientious objection over the requirement has led to children being "placed in harm's way for the financial gain of special and outside interest groups.”

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Hotez's tweet was in reference to a Houston Chronicle story.

In response, Stickland accused Hotez of being “bought and paid for by the biggest special interest in politics” and suggested he "Do our state a favor and mind your own business. Parental rights mean more to us than your self-enriching 'science.'"

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Hotez, a Baylor College of Medicine professor of infectious disease, replied that he doesn’t take money from the vaccine industry and that the issue is "most certainly my business” as a pediatrician-scientist who develops neglected disease vaccines for the world's poorest people, according to the paper.

"Make the case for your sorcery to consumers on your own dime," Stickland replied. "Like every other business. Quit using the heavy hand of government to make your business profitable through mandates and immunity. It's disgusting."

"Quit using the heavy hand of government to make your business profitable through mandates and immunity. It's disgusting."

— Texas state Rep. Jonathan Stickland

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By that time, Hotez had exited the online feud, but Stickland continued to spar with other Twitter users over his remarks. He further tweeted vaccines are “dangerous” and called a doctor concerned about vaccines a “brainwashed commie.”