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How the anti-vaccine movement crept into the GOP mainstream

The anti-vaccine movement, which swelled with discredited theories that blamed vaccines for autism and other ills, has morphed and grown into a libertarian political rebellion that is drawing in state Republican officials who distrust government medical mandates.

Anti-vaccine sentiments are as old as vaccines themselves — and it’s been nearly 300 years since smallpox immunization began in what is now the United States. Liberal enclaves from Boulder, Colo., to Marin County, Calif., have long been pockets of vaccine skepticism. But the current measles epidemic, with more than 880 cases reported across 25 states of a disease declared eradicated in the U.S. 19 years ago, shows it gaining power within the GOP mainstream.