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Ben Carson (pictured), a retired world-renowned neurosurgeon, author, political activist and prospective Republican presidential candidate has given his stamp of approval on the much-debated issue of vaccines, letting it be known that they are direly necessary for children, according to NPR.

“When you have diseases that have demonstrably been shown to be curtailed or eradicated by immunization, why would you even think about not doing it?” he told NPR’s Tamara Keith.

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In light of the current measles outbreak, the vaccine controversy has now seemingly become a national debate that is spilling over into the 2016 presidential elections, as potential candidates disagree over whether there  should be a call for stricter vaccination requirements.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting 102 confirmed measles cases spread across 14 states, whereas last year’s record outbreak, 644 cases, were diagnosed across 27 states — the largest outbreak since the virus was declared eliminated in 2000.

On Tuesday, the 63-year-old politico released a public statement that spoke to his strong beliefs in individual rights but stressed how health and public safety are number one societal priorities.

“Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them.”

Currently, all states now require children to get certain vaccinations to enroll in school, although California and New Jersey are among 20 states that let parents opt out by obtaining a waiver.  The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents to get their children vaccinated against measles and other childhood diseases.