(CNSNews.com) -- During a Senate hearing on disease outbreaks and whether vaccines should be mandated by the federal government, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who believes the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks, nonetheless argued that peaceful persuasion is wiser than government force and added, "I do not favor giving up on liberty for a false sense of security."
He also explained that since 1988 more than $4 billion has been paid by the federal government to victims of childhood vaccines, an average of $133.3 million every year.
"As we contemplate forcing parents to choose this or that vaccine, I think it's important to remember that force is not consistent with the American story, nor is force consistent with the liberty our forefathers sought when they came to America," said Paul in his opening statement before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday. "I don't think you have to have one or the other, though."
"I'm not here to say don't vaccinate your kids," said Paul, a medical doctor who is married and has three children. "If this hearing is for persuasion, I'm all for the persuasion. I vaccinated myself. I vaccinated my kids."
"For myself and my children, I believe that the benefits of vaccines greatly outweigh the risks," he said. "But I still do not favor giving up on liberty for a false sense of security."
Earlier in his remarks, Senator Paul said, "instead of persuasion, many governments [today] have taken to mandating a whole host of vaccines, including vaccines for non-lethal diseases. Sometimes these vaccine mandates have run amok, as when the government mandated a rotavirus vaccine that was later recalled because it was causing intestinal blockage in children."
"I'm not a fan of government coercion," he said. "Yet given the choice, I do believe that the benefits of most vaccines vastly outweigh the risks. Yet, it is wrong to say that there are no risks to vaccines. Even the government admits that children are sometimes injured by vaccines."
"Since 1988, over $4 billion has been paid out from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program," said the senator. "Despite the government admitting to and paying $4 billion for vaccine injuries, no informed consent is used or required when you vaccinate your child. This may be the only medical procedure in today's medical world where an informed consent is not required."