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.”