Buttigieg raises eyebrows on vaccination stance, faces media criticism

South Bend mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg drew some backlash for his stance on mandatory vaccinations.

Buzzfeed reported that Buttigieg supports states' rights to mandate vaccinations, but also supports "some exceptions."

"The law of the land for more than a century has been that states may enforce mandatory vaccination for public safety to prevent the spread of a dangerous disease. Pete does support some exceptions, except during a public health emergency to prevent an outbreak," a spokesman for the South Bend mayor told Buzzfeed.

The 37-year-old progressive listed personal/religious exemptions, but reiterated that there must be "no public health crisis" for the exemptions to be honored.

"These exemptions include medical exemptions in all cases (as in cases where it is unsafe for the individual to get vaccinated), and personal/religious exemptions if states can maintain local herd immunity and there is no public health crisis," the spokesman added.

Buttigieg's stance on vaccination exemptions caught some attention on social media.

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The 2020 candidiate was starting to generate negative press on Tuesday night. Mediaite's headline read "Buttigieg fumbles badly on vaccinations."

Buttigieg has since modified his stance, offering a "clarifying statement" to Buzzfeed late Tuesday night.

"Pete believes vaccines are safe and effective and are necessary to maintaining public health. There is no evidence that vaccines are unsafe, and he believes children should be immunized to protect their health. He is aware that in most states the law provides for some kinds of exemptions. He believes only medical exemptions should be allowed," the spokesman said.

Buzzfeed has been gathering the vaccination stances of all 2020 presidential candidates. Several candidates did not respond to Buzzfeed including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, former Obama HUD Secretary Julián Castro, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI.