At Growing Child Pediatrics, we are dedicated to providing our patients and their families with the best possible acute and preventative medical care. We are committed to practice medicine in compliance with the evidence based practices established by national advisory organizations that include: the American Academy of Pediatrics, The Centers for Disease Control, and The American Council on Immunization Practices. Our practice has experienced a marked increase in parents requesting to delay immunizations or declining them altogether. In response to increasing questions and requests to differ from national guidelines concerning immunization schedules, we have an updated vaccine policy, which we will use to guide us in the area of vaccines. This policy is available in our office, posted in our exam rooms and on our website. We hope this helps to answer some of the questions. We encourage you to become familiar with this policy and appreciate you taking time to review this important aspect of your child’s medical care.
Growing Child Pediatrics Vaccine Statement
At Growing Child Pediatrics, we firmly believe in the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness. We firmly believe in the safety of nationally approved vaccines. We firmly believe that all children and young adults should receive all of the required vaccines according to the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Council on immunization Practices. We also highly encourage all the recommended vaccines published in that same schedule.
We firmly believe, based on all available literature, evidence and current studies, that vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities. We firmly believe the studies showing that thimerosal, a preservative that has been in vaccines for decades and remains in some vaccines, does not cause autism or other developmental disabilities. We firmly believe that vaccinating children and young adults may be the single most important healthpromoting intervention we perform as health care providers and that you can perform as parents/caregivers. The recommended vaccines and their schedule are the results of years and years of scientific study and data gathering on millions of children by thousands of our brightest scientists and physicians.
Our goal is to help parents understand the importance of vaccines and to avoid the very painful and difficult experience of medical complications or death of their child due to vaccine preventable illness. Many of you may remember that Ben Franklin tragically delayed inoculating his favorite son Franky against small pox. Franky contracted smallpox and died at the age of 4. In his autobiography Ben Franklin stated:
“In 1736, I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the smallpox…I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it, my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that therefore, the safer should be chosen.”
Because of vaccines, most people have never seen a child with polio, tetanus, whooping cough, bacterial meningitis or chicken pox, or known a friend or family member whose child died of one of these diseases. Such success can make us complacent about vaccinating. (The thousands of children who ARE vaccinated decrease the likelihood that unvaccinated children will contract one of these diseases). If such an attitude becomes widespread, a resurgence of these diseases will occur and tragedy will result. Indeed, over the past several years, there have been outbreaks of various diseases – Measles, H. Influenzae, Pertussis (Whooping cough) and multiple deaths from these diseases and their complications.
We understand some parents may continue to refuse to vaccinate their children despite our efforts to provide them with accurate and meaningful medical and scientific data to support our policy. Growing Child Pediatrics believes that it is important that we provide all of our patients with the same level of care and believe that it is unethical to deviate from the established standard of care, which would leave vulnerable children susceptible to potentially deadly infections. We are making you aware of these facts not to scare or coerce you, but to emphasize the importance of vaccinating your child. We recognize that the choice may be a very emotional one for some parents. If you have questions or concerns you wish to address with us, please make an appointment in advance of your well check to allow adequate time to discuss your concerns.
Parents who refuse vaccinations according to the recommended schedule will be asked to find another health care provider. We will ask such parents at their visit to sign a refusal to vaccinate form from the American Academy of Pediatrics and locate another provider of medical care within 60 days of the office visit. We will work with any family whose child is not up to date with their vaccines to become compliant with current recommendations. Please recognize that by not vaccinating, we feel you are putting your child at unnecessary risk for life-threatening illness, disability, and even death. For ethical reasons we cannot support any physician’s agreement to not immunize a child and therefore we do not keep a list of providers and cannot recommend one. We will always carefully review any true medical contraindications to vaccinating your child.
However, while we respect a parent’s personal beliefs and decision-making rights for their child, we cannot assume medical liability in situations where a child is not vaccinated for religious reasons.
Thank you for your time in examining these issues and reading this policy. Please feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about vaccines with any one of us.
The GCP Providers