Researchers used national American Academy of Pediatrics Periodic Surveys from 2006 and 2013 and they examined the frequency of requests for vaccine delays and refusals and the impact on US pediatricians’ behavior. According to the surveys, increasing numbers of people are requesting alternative vaccination schedules, postponing vaccinations or declining vaccinations all together. According to the survey, 19% of parents with children between 6 months and 23 months of age either refused or delayed at least 1 recommended vaccine, and 3% of parents refused all vaccines recommended.
This type of noncompliance with the vaccine schedule has put pediatricians in an uncomfortable situation. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 87% of pediatricians encounter parents who refuse a vaccine. Parents’ site reasons not to vaccinate because they feel that vaccines are no longer necessary or parents are concerned about vaccine safety and side effect concerns like Autism.
As a result of a parents’ noncompliance, if a pediatrician is unable to convince a parent to accept vaccines, some pediatricians have made the decision to abandon and dismiss those “difficult” parents. This leaves the parent with feelings of rejection and distrust for the medical community. Parents’ should have the right to formulate their own opinion regarding the welfare of their children. Unfortunately, in todays’ society, government agencies are stepping in and literally forcing treatment on to minors of reluctant parents. In fact, immunization rates have been maintained in the United States through mandatory vaccination requirements for entry into and advancement through licensed child care centers and schools.
In an effort to get more children vaccinated, the pharmaceutical industry, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have drawn up guidelines for the pediatrician to follow to help change the minds of vaccine-hesitant parents’. Some of those guidelines are as follows:
- Remind parents that vaccines are tested thoroughly. Vaccines go through 3 phases of clinical trials before being granted licensure for use.
- Vaccine safety is monitored after licensure. Anyone who suspects an association between a vaccine and an adverse effect can report the event to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) established in 1990 by the FDA and the CDC.
- Highlighting that alternative vaccine schedules have not been shown to be more effective or safer than the evidence-based vaccine schedule.
- Use the presumptive delivery strategy. This includes using statements like, “Well, we have to do some shots”, or “He really needs these shots” as opposed to saying “What would you like to do about shots”.