After much deliberation and careful thought, Parker Pediatrics and Adolescents has developed the following vaccine policy: We will not accept patients in our practice who do not follow at least our minimum vaccine and timetable requirements (see below).
Vaccines have been a life saver for millions of children around the world. Before vaccines, many children would die or have life long disabilities due to the diseases now preventable by vaccines. Although no vaccine can be 100% safe, reactions to vaccines are extremely rare. There are many fine websites that accurately and honestly discuss the virtues as well as any possible disadvantages of vaccines. Unfortunately, there are many that are full of falsehoods, paranoia and lies. This has led to an irrational fear among some parents and thus a small, but significant percentage of children unvaccinated. This unfortunately raises the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases for everyone.
By choosing not to vaccinate, a parent is refusing one of our strongest recommendations–to vaccinate one’s child. If a parent trusts us to treat their child, they should trust us on such an important medical decision as vaccination. It would seem logical to have one’s child seen at a practice whose values and opinions are closer to their own.
Children who are not vaccinated are at much higher risk of catching a vaccine preventable disease and may be contagious in our waiting room. This puts everyone, but especially babies or immunocompromised patients at risk.
Finally, we feel that we are at increased risk of making an incorrect medical decision when we are called after hours and do not know a child’s vaccination status. An unvaccinated child with a cough or fever involves totally different decision making than one with vaccinations.
Except in those rare cases when there is a true medical contraindication or reason for delaying a vaccine, these are our minimum requirements:
- The following vaccines must be given: Hep B, DTaP, TdaP, Polio, Hib, Pneumococcal, MMR and Chickenpox. The others are recommended, but not part of this policy.
- These must be started no later than two months after the recommended dates. If presently behind or unvaccinated, these must be started within 30 days.
- Alternate schedules, although discouraged, will be honored as long as the above are met.
Those who choose not to follow our policy will be given 30 days to find a new pediatrician; we will continue to see those children for acute care during that time.