It should be a cause for concern, as some pediatricians refuse to treat unvaccinated babies, so parents should be aware of this potential consequence.
- A number of 534 respondents were polled
- A majority of 83% of them encountered families with unvaccinated children
- The rate of refusal was 21% of pediatricians, and 4% for physicians
- The numbers were higher in states that do not allow philosophical exemptions
A study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has inquired a number of 815 physicians and pediatricians about their response to treating unvaccinated children. It’s an issue that unfortunately does come up. It’s especially more prevalent in certain states where philosophical exemptions are allowed.
Out of the practitioners to the online questionnaires, 534 of them responded, from which the researchers drew out their statistics. They found that 21% of pediatricians dismiss families when they refuse to vaccinate their children. For physicians, on the other hand, only 4% of them decline to care for the family.
According to lead author of the study, Dr. Sean O’Leary, this is a practice that occurs in spite of the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) highly discourages it. However, 1 in 5 pediatricians reportedly “always” or “often” refuse to treat children that have not been vaccinated. It has an impact on the community at large, and it’s certainly not a wanted consequence of philosophical exemptions.
Some might refuse to vaccinate their children due to medical, religious, or even philosophical beliefs. This makes them vulnerable to preventable diseases and potential carriers of an outbreak. However, the matter of fairness was brought up. It does not set a good precedent to refuse treating a child because his or her parents declined to vaccinate them.
The study underlines the potential problems of refusing basic vaccines, along with the unfortunate and rather unfair consequences that might result. A child would have little control on whether they get vaccinated or not. The research aims to bring up the issue that their health should not be the one to be sacrificed.
Researchers found that there is an understandable differences between state policies as well. For example, 34% of pediatricians refused treatment for unvaccinated babies in states where philosophical exemptions were not allowed. This made the problem more pronounced in Southern or Northeastern states. In states that did allow parents to choose, only 9% of pediatricians declined care.
Overall, it’s a commonly met problem. A number of 83% of the respondents reported to have encountered parents with unvaccinated children. The behavior does differ, in the sense that some opt for the middle ground instead of outright refusing. For example, 64% of physicians require the parents to sign a waiver, 55% address the vaccine concern, while 36% advise families to inform urgent-care medical health professionals of their child’s lack of immunization.
The unfortunate practice should be better explored and its consequences should be understood through future studies. This will include both its “intended and unintended consequences”.
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