Some pediatricians are refusing to take patients that come from families who do not vaccinate. Image: Flickr / ladytaz / CC-BY-SA

Vaccinations have long been considered a part of keeping children healthy. While vaccination rates are increasing, there have still been outbreaks of preventable diseases. Some pediatricians are starting to refuse to take on patients who have not been vaccinated.

Measles outbreak in the U.S.

In the United States this year, there have been more than 150 cases of measles in the United States. Measles is a very serious disease that can kill, especially in children and at-risk individuals. Generally, measles can be prevented by the MMR vaccine, which protects against Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Outbreaks of whooping cough in the country have also been increasing.

Vaccination rates going up

In a report recently released by the Centers for Disease Control, the latest vaccination rates for children have been identified. For children in the United States between 19 months and 35 months old, vaccination rates are at well above 90 percent. This number was found by surveying households with children in that age range for two years, between January 2007 and January 2009. The majority of households at least partially vaccinate children; only about 1 percent of households do not vaccinate for any diseases at all.

Pediatricians refusing unvaccinated patients

In some pediatricians’ offices, unvaccinated children are becoming a problem. Babies younger than the age at which vaccinations are appropriate or recommended are being exposed to illnesses for which they do not have immunity. Some pediatricians are simply beginning to entirely refuse families who refuse to vaccinate their children. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement on the practice, saying:

“In general, pediatricians should avoid discharging patients from their practices solely because a parent refuses to immunize his or her child,” the group says in a report. “However, when a substantial level of distrust develops, significant differences in the philosophy of care emerge, or poor quality of communication persists, the pediatrician may encourage the family to find another physician or practice.”



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