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Shots Fired

The AAP Approves Of Doctors ‘Firing’ Parents Who Don’t Vaccinate Their Kids

Parents who refuse vaccines for their kids for non-medical reasons could soon be met with a doctor’s response fit for a Trump apprentice: You’re fired! In the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics had not taken an explicit stance on the anti-vaxxer crowd, instead encouraging pediatricians to still see the kids while “encouraging” the parents to vaccinate. Until last week, that is, when the AAP officially backed up doctors who refuse to keep seeing non-vaccinating families in the report, “Countering Vaccine Hesitancy,” or, as it was known internally prior to publication, “Pissing Some Parents Off.”

The number of doctors refusing parents who don’t come around on vaccinations was already on the rise before the AAP got involved. One study found that as many as one in 8 pediatricians reported dismissing patients for that very reason in 2013 — double what it was in 2006. Judging from the AAP’s report, they may have had all they can stand. The organization found 75 percent of pediatricians surveyed encountered at least one parent who refused a vaccine, and 73 percent of opposed parents opposed said they simply believed vaccines to be “unnecessary.” (The 2015 measles outbreak — and perhaps your pediatrician — begs to differ).

Still, these guidelines by no means require pediatricians to fire patients and instead stress the need to give parents some time to decide. “The decision to dismiss a family who continues to refuse immunization is not one that should be made lightly, nor should it be made without considering and respecting the reasons for the parents’ point of view,” the report states. “Nevertheless, the individual pediatrician may consider dismissal of families who refuse vaccination as an acceptable option.”

 The report also found that as many as 47 percent of parents who initially refused vaccines came around, so there’s a case to be made for pediatricians giving parents time to do so. At the very least, parents can stop being mad at California and start being mad at their doctors. No matter where you stand on the issue, that’s progress.
[H/T] Forbes

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