- In recent years, parents have rejected the vaccination policies of pediatricians.
- Parents reserve the right to delay or refuse vaccinations, but pediatricians are increasingly excluding these families from their practices.
- Dismissal of families can have legal and ethical ramifications.
A recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics they found that about half of pediatric clinics had a policy of dismissing families from their practice if they refused vaccinations for their children and 37% would do so with or without such a policy. .
This means that a large number of children in the United States could go without care. Conformable National immunization survey more recently , the number of unvaccinated children in the US has increased significantly over the past 30 years. This rejection of unvaccinated children could lead to a much greater public health crisis if the problem is neglected.
Decreased vaccination rates
The decline in vaccination rates is a result of the growing problem of parental rejection of routine vaccines for children in the United States. In fact, in 2019, World Health Organization declared the vaccination of the vaccine one of the top 10 threats to global health and ranked the vaccines as one of the most important. most of the «profitable ways to avoid disease». But, ironically, this is a big part of the problem.
The success of vaccines has made certain diseases rare, so many people have never seen diseases such as measles, polio or diphtheria. The lack of a common experience of these diseases makes it difficult to convince families of the importance of vaccines.
– TRINA BLYTHE, MD
«The success of vaccines has made certain diseases rare, so many people have never seen diseases like measles, polio or diphtheria,» says Trina Blythe MD, FAAP, pediatrician and professor of Way To Grow Pediatrics, a pediatric assistant at the University of Washington. The lack of a common experience of these diseases makes it difficult to convince families of the importance of vaccines.
How does this affect COVID-19?
In fact, childhood vaccines are more important than ever as we enter the eighth month of a global pandemic. «COVID-19 has everyone who fights for a vaccine as our best protection against this deadly virus. The current pandemic is easily reminiscent of a time before vaccines, with large numbers of people suffering and dying before current vaccines became available, ”says Blythe.
And while drug companies are working hard to produce a vaccine, informal surveys indicates a relatively low parental acceptance rate even for the COVID-19 vaccine, despite everyone’s overwhelming desire to return to life as we knew it before. Part of this rejection stems from the same suspicions about childhood vaccines as TDAP, MMR and even the flu vaccine. In other cases, it has its roots in historical incidents of medical negligence committed in disadvantaged communities.Scientific experts are working hard to ease everyone’s concerns before the vaccine is ready.
Pediatricians dismiss families for lack of vaccines
Now, doctors are responding to the dismissal of these families from their office. But there are legal and ethical considerations in this regard. «Families who are rejected may not be able to find a medical home, and the child may miss the necessary medical examinations and care. The baby may remain unvaccinated and may have a poor prognosis, ”says Blythe.
But while it is not illegal to stop caring for a family that refuses vaccines, clinicians should know that the law tends to fall on the side of the family. A study in Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health It says: “In case of negligence, a doctor can be held liable for injuring a patient if the doctor had a debt to the patient and if the breach of this duty led to his injury. . »
«Once a family has settled with a doctor, there is an obligation to that patient,» says Blythe. In such cases, a doctor should try to get parents to understand why they strongly believe in routine childhood immunizations before firing their parents.
According to Blythe, «If a patient knowingly refuses to vaccinate and later has side effects, he or she can legally claim that the doctor had superior knowledge and should have worked harder to persuade them to get vaccinated.»
Whenever a doctor and a parent cannot agree on whether a child will receive vaccinations, the argument goes beyond the legal ramifications. From an ethical point of view, doctors should consider that «patients and families fired for refusing the vaccine and not being able to find a new doctor may be left out of medical care and therefore vulnerable», according to the study by JAMA.
What does this mean for you?
In a perfect world, a doctor who wants to operate with a stricter vaccination policy could inform potential patients before joining the office. Blythe warns that I can do this “by making sure everyone in the office understands the policy. When new patients call to make an appointment, please inform them in advance about the policy of the office.or «.