In recent days both New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul have said they think vaccinating children is a parent's choice. Both men spoke about vaccinations as measles spread across the US. The measles was thought to have originated at Disneyland, from unvaccinated park-goers.

Medical ethicist Art Caplan said Wednesday on Boston Public Radio that he thought Christie and Paul were being reckless. Caplan noted the irony in Christie's statement, given his quarantine of Kaci Hickox — a nurse who returned to the US after treating Ebola patients.

She was in a "plastic tent outside of Newark with no water, no TV," Caplan said. But "when it comes to measles, [Christie]'s turned into Ayn Rand!" Caplan suggested Christie walk back his comments.

"This whole thing is absurd. ... People are looking for reasons not to vaccinate," Caplan said. "People keep saying, 'Well, the pharmaceutical companies, they're pushing it on us, they want us to vaccinate.' My response to that is, 'Well, good!'"

Caplan noted that the anti-vaccine movement has been championed by parents — many of them well-educated — concerned about the risk of autism in their children. Caplan said the vaccine-autism connection is ridiculous, and doctors are right to call shenanigans.

"In the game of who do you trust, I trust pediatricians. They are for kids, they stand up for kids, their careers are dedicated to kids."

Caplan also talked about President Obama's new budget proposal now before Congress that would institute $50 million in cuts for immunization funding.

"It does harm, it's stupid. ... It makes no sense to cut your immunization budget," Caplan said. He added that vaccines save money in the long run.

"If you want to fill up your emergency rooms with people with the flu -- and they're full this year -- then cut your immunization rate."

Caplan took a dim view of medical policy passed for political expedience.

"That policy could only be passed by politicians who took their last science course in the 7th grade."

>>Art Caplan appears every Wednesday on Boston Public Radio. Caplan is the cohost of the Everyday Ethicspodcast.