Half of Pediatricians Dismiss Anti-Vaccine Families

When doctors fire families for refusing vaccines, parents are sometimes influenced, according to the survey. In fact, 18% change their mind often or always, while 48% do so sometimes. Twenty-nine percent rarely change their mind and 5% never do, according to polls.

The report found that private practices were more likely than community, hospital or health maintenance organizations to have a termination policy. Practices in the Midwest were less likely to have termination policies than practices in other regions.

Dr Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, said the goal of termination policies is to ensure children are immunized. He was not part of the study.

“By drawing a line and saying, ‘I can’t see you if you choose to delay or refuse the vaccines, because you are asking me to provide substandard care,” ”Offit said. “If that child was hurt, I – on some level – would be tacitly responsible, because on some level, I would say it’s OK, if I continued to see your family.”

Pediatricians also have a responsibility to all children in the waiting room. “Sometimes the kids in the waiting room can’t be vaccinated – they may be too young, take certain medications, or be immunocompromised,” Offit said.

The big concern, however, is that doctors don’t know where a child might end up if they fire them.

“I don’t think there is really a good choice in this situation for pediatricians. It’s very difficult,” said Offit.

O’Leary said he hopes parents understand that “many pediatricians are so convinced that the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risk that they are willing to take the extreme step of not taking families who refuse to be vaccinated. And, remember, these are people who have dedicated their careers to caring for children. ”

He said that many questions remained and that this topic needed to be studied further. For example, do termination policies contribute to vaccination rates? What message do these policies really send to parents?

The results were published on September 15 as a research letter in Journal of the American Medical Association.

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SOURCES: Sean O’Leary, MD, MPH, professor, pediatrics, Sections of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and General Academic Pediatrics, and researcher, Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science, and director, Pediatric Practice-Based Research Network, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Colorado Children’s Hospital, Aurora; Paul Offit, MD, director, Vaccine Education Center, and attending physician, Division of Infectious Diseases, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia;Journal of the American Medical Association, September 15, 2020

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