When this MCNTalk blogger was pregnant and interviewing a pediatrician, she told me that she couldn’t take our child on if we didn’t have our child vaccinated on the routine schedule. Though I didn’t necessarily disagree with her, this took me by surprise; I had thought we were doing the interviewing, after all. As it turns out, my pediatrician’s standard is not so unusual. Per this Wall Street Journal article, more and more pediatricians are choosing not to treat children whose parents don’t allow them to receive standard immunizations on a standard schedule.
Some interesting points:
- In a study of Connecticut pediatricians published last year, some 30% of 133 doctors said they had asked a family to leave their practice for vaccine refusal, and a recent survey of 909 Midwestern pediatricians found that 21% reported discharging families for the same reason.
- For Allan LaReau of Kalamazoo, Mich., and his 11 colleagues at Bronson Rambling Road Pediatrics, who chose in 2010 to stop working with vaccine-refusing families, a major factor was the concern that unimmunized children could pose a danger in the waiting room to infants or sick children who haven’t yet been fully vaccinated.
- Pediatricians disagree about what their duty is to these families. “The bottom line is you should try to do whatever you can to maintain the family in the best care,” said Michael Brady, chair of the pediatrics department at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and a member of the AAP’s immunization committee. “If they leave your practice, they’re probably going to gravitate toward another practice with unhealthy practices.”
- Other physicians say they rarely have had luck persuading vaccine opponents to change their minds.