As More Parents Refuse Vaccines, More Doctors Dismiss Them -- With AAP's Blessing

FORBES | Tara Haelle

The tides are shifting for parents who delay or refuse vaccines and the doctors who treat them: More pediatricians are seeing more vaccine refusals, and more pediatricians are pushing back. But now, those doctors pushing back have a bit more support from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Several new reports in the journal Pediatrics today confront the changing landscape of vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. head on. The professional organization firmly declared its support for removing all non-medical exemptions for vaccines, released findings from pediatrician surveys on immunization and issued comprehensive guidance to pediatricians for addressing parents’ concerns about vaccines. And it shifted somewhat on the issue of doctors firing patients for refusing to vaccinate.

As vaccine hesitancy has become a bigger issue in the U.S.—and contributed to outbreaks such as the 2015 Disneyland measles outbreak—more doctors have implemented policies of dismissing families who refuse to vaccinate their children. In fact, nearly one in eight pediatricians reported in 2013 that they always dismiss patients who continue to refuse vaccines—twice as many as in 2006, according to a new study comparing 2006 and 2013 survey results.

[Non-vaccinated individuals can have deadly consequences for cancer patients, transplant recipients, people with compromised immune systems, other children and seniors]  Continue reading
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