pediatricians regularly dismiss families who refuse to have their children vaccinated.
“We decided that the patients who are not vaccinated are presenting a clear and present danger,” explained Dr. Charles Goodman, a California pediatrician whose office recently adopted a policy of mandatory immunization for patients. “It just wasn’t fair for a small number of patients to put those many patients who either couldn’t be vaccinated because they’re too young or had a weakened immune system, at risk.”
Dr. Laura Bianconi at Centegra Physician Care in Illinois also began to treat only those who were adequately immunized. “We all agreed that we needed to change course for the benefit of the kids in our community. We decided it was more important to protect the health of the kids in our practice who are too young to be vaccinated than it was to let people make individual choices about vaccines.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics Urges Tolerance
While more pediatricians are adopting this policy, it is not strictly in line with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), despite the AAP’s strong endorsement of universal immunization.
The AAP recommends that “[i]n general, pediatricians should avoid discharging a patient from their practices solely because a parent refuses immunizations for the child.” However, the AAP does suggest that a doctor encourage a patient to find another provider if their relationship becomes “unworkable.” What “unworkable” means is not explained.
Frustrated pediatricians are hoping for more support from the AAP. At the AAP’s Annual Leadership forum last spring, Texas pediatrician Dr. Kimberly Avila Edwards sought support from the AAP for “pediatricians who decide to discharge patients after a reasonable, finite
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