A recent study reveals that one in five pediatricians refuse treatment to unvaccinated children. Immunizing a child against a wide spectrum of infections has become a controversy nationwide.
Some families base the decision to not vaccinate a child on religious motives. Others quote philosophical debates, while others are fearful that vaccination may lead to autistic spectrum disorder.
Regardless of the reason, 18 U.S. states allow a legislative exemption from vaccination based on religious or philosophical grounds. With the new study, an added cause of concern is being brought to light. One in five pediatricians refuse treatment to unvaccinated children.
The American Academy of Pediatricians has called upon pediatricians to not dismiss families on these grounds. Not vaccinating children has pushed some pediatricians to act as such due to concerns related to communicable diseases. As was the recent measles outbreak sourced in Disneyland, California.
Vaccination is not compulsory by law. Nonetheless, in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, children must be vaccinated from a young age. The first vaccine depends on the type of disease. A weak immune system may act a spark for an outbreak.
Some of the pediatricians who dismiss families for not vaccinating children act on personal impulse. Their gesture is a stand against the irrationality of the parents’ decision. However, others are concernced about other patients’ safety.
Doctor H. Dele Davies with the American Academy of Pediatrics committee for infectious diseases stated:
“For these physicians, what I’m hearing them say is they strongly feel not immunizing their children is such a great risk that they’re taking a stand”.
The researchers conducted a survey including 815 pediatricians nationwide. The survey was conducted in 2012 between June and October. All respondents received questions about vaccinations, the rate of dismissing patients for not vaccinating their children, what was the prevalence of parental refusal.
Overall, the results showed that there a small fraction of parents refuse to vaccinate their child. 83 percent of the respondents indicated that approximately one percent of the parents they see monthly refuse vaccinations. 20 percent of the pediatricians reported 5 percent of the parents to refuse immunizing their children.
In response, 51 percent of the doctors ask that the parents sign a legal form acknowledging their refusal. 21 percent of the pediatricians reported dismissing families who chose to not immunize their children. 4 percent of the family doctors choose the same path.
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