Pediatricians in Canada are starting to discharge children whose parents refuse to have them vaccinated.
More and more, doctors are taking a stand when their medical advice is being ignored, said Dr. Hirotaka Yamashiro, chair of the pediatrics section for the Ontario Medical Association and president of the Pediatricians Alliance of Ontario.
“There have been some pediatricians who are very concerned about that, and may not take on the patient in the beginning,” Yamashiro said. “If you are going to fundamentally disagree with one of the things I think is good for your child, what else are we going to have a problem with?”
Yamashiro estimates that one in 25 to 30 parents in Ontario refuse immunizations for their child, or place their child on a modified vaccine schedule. He adds that one in eight to 10 parents express concerns over how vaccines may affect their child.
“It’s a big problem because…you’re leading to more and more unimmunized children,” Yamashiro said. “If this movement is allowed to fester, it’s like a wound. If you allow it to sort of grow, then you’re going to start affecting everybody’s health.”
Tip: @PharmacistScott Scott Gavura on Twitter
This is controversial, for sure. When do doctors give up on such parents? As Dr. Yamashiro notes, if you would go against your doctor on something as important as vaccines, which has iron clad benefits, what else would you be against? Skipping necessary surgery? Ask for homeopathy? The doctor is the expert, not parents, when it comes to sound medical advice.
Vaccines work. And we are paying a price for parents who think they know better than medical professionals about childhood disease prevention – outbreaks of measles, deaths from pertussis.
Having nonvaccinated kids in an office can help spread infections for children and other family members where the immunization benefits did not work (or others who were not vaccinated). We have a serious problem here. Is booting out patients with difficult parents the answer? Maybe better education and communication come first. But, I suppose there is time to draw the line.