Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Doctors dump parents that refuse to vaccinate children but where do they go?

I did an article back in November of 2011, “Reckless parents endanger children by not vaccinating,” when this whole fiasco started about parents who adamantly decline to have their children inoculated properly.  It all started over a study done by a doctor in Great Britain that was proved to be wrong.  But families persisted in their refusal to vaccinate and now some pediatricians who have lost patience with this attitude are “firing” them from their practice.  Good riddance!

Child with measles

As a result of this denial, whooping cough is back, mumps are back, measles are back.  As of November 2011, there were 152 cases of measles, double a typical year; the biggest outbreak in 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In the pre-vaccine days, this disease killed between 3,000 and 5,000 Americans a year.  Doctors are only attempting to protect their other patients when they tell the stubborn ones to take a hike.

But, where do they go? 

In a Wall Street Journal piece, it was reported that “Medical associations don't recommend such patient bans, but the practice appears to be growing, according to vaccine researchers.”  And the docs aren’t giving in; a study done in Connecticut showed that around 30 percent of 133 doctors had asked this group to leave their practice.  In the Midwest, the figure was 21 percent.  Who wants to sit their child down next to another who could have God knows whatever?

Another concern of these misled parents was that mercury was used as a vaccine preservative, also disproved like the autism scare by numerous studies.  The WSJ found another interesting fact, that more medically educated parents these days are willing to challenge their doctors, thus, these physicians do not want to deal with patients that outwardly confront them.  This alone I cannot condone since a well-informed patient is the best kind of patient.

Some doctors said that they have not had much luck in persuading these misinformed parents to change their minds so the only alternative is to fire them.  Pediatricians do not agree on their obligations to these families but do know they want them to get the best medical care possible.  Unfortunately, those let go from these practices are “…probably going to gravitate toward another practice with unhealthy practices."  

And that is one answer to where will they go.  But there is yet another possibility; they won’t go anywhere and that is worse.

With the economy in the shape it is and affecting so many financially, along with a number of families without health care coverage, the ingredients are there for a real health care emergency.  40% of parents say they have deliberately skipped or delayed a shot for their children.  In another study, 1 in 10 parents vaccinated their children outside of the recommended schedule developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The doctor's pledge

A lot of younger parents today have not seen the havoc diseases like measles, mumps or whooping cough can cause.  They are willing to opt for the other side based primarily on emotionalism, reading material on the Internet without really checking its source for authenticity.  One Atlanta mom made the statement that any doctor should feel “obligated” to discuss vaccine risks. 

True, but if that doc tells you that you are endangering your child in what you are doing, and if you trust his or her judgment, then you should also take their advice.


  1. One thing that I never see but would be valuable information, is the number of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated people who are affected by these different outbreaks. If the outbreaks were most common among those not vaccinated, then why isn't that reported? How did the outbreak start? With a vaccinated child? Unvaccinated? That information might help to convince some parents that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.

    If vaccines are so safe, why is there a vaccine injury compensation trust fund? As of January 2011, VICP has paid out $2.1 billion to more than 2500 families for vaccine related injuries and death, including compensation for vaccine/autism claims.

    Also, why does it seem that these outbreaks are occurring in younger people and not those born before 1970 (when the MMR was introduced in the US)? A child gets measles or mumps, but it doesn't seem to spread to the parent population. Is it because of the MMR vaccine in particular? Could the MMR vaccine actually inhibit the effectiveness of one or more of its' individual components?

    Finally, given the strenuous vaccination schedule for infants and toddlers, has there ever been a study to see if one vaccine might be affecting the effectiveness of another vaccine? Could multiple vaccines given in quick succession actually be a detriment to overall effectivess of one or more of them?

    I'm not saying I agree with parents who refuse vaccination; both of my children were. However, I can understand their concerns; I am one of the 10% who vaccinated my children "outside the recommended" schedule. We discussed our concerns with our pediatrician, and it was HE who suggested an alternative, slower vaccination schedule that worked for us while still allowing us to conform to the vaccination requirements before my children started school. My children seem no worse off than children who were vaccinated according to the recommended schedule. What benefits are there to such a rigorous vaccination schedule? What risks?

    These are all valid concerns and questions, especially given the close relationship between vaccine manufacturers, the CDC and your local doctor. Blaming these outbreaks strictly on the unvaccinated does everyone a disservice. How can parents make an informed decision if not presented with all the facts?

    1. Great comment, Lisa! Can anyone out there answer her questions? It is also excellent thoughts for another follow-up to this issue. Thanks Lisa!


      Jack E. Dunning



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