Parents who refuse to allow their children to be vaccinated are being turned away by doctors, according to findings reported at a recent meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Vaccine safety has come under attack in recent years, with some parents believing vaccines may be linked to autism or other health problems, or that the sheer number of them can overwhelm a young child's immune system. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other mainstream medical organizations dispute these claims.
Thomas Tryon, a pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo., and his colleagues conducted a study in which 900 pediatricians in nine Midwestern states were surveyed about vaccinations at their practice. Of the pediatricians surveyed, 21 percent have turned away patients for refusing vaccinations, 60 percent say one in 20 of their patients have refused vaccinations or requested altered scheduled, and 4 percent said a majority of their patients refused vaccinations.
"Because these diseases are being prevented by vaccines, people no longer remember how bad they were," Dr. Tryon said. When parents refuse vaccines, they're really saying, 'We don't trust your advice,' he added.