In light of the recent measles outbreak and the frequent pertussis (whooping cough) outbreaks, we would like to review our vaccine policy at Hometown Pediatrics. We have always been strong advocates for childhood vaccinations. The science is clear: vaccines are safe and they work. They have saved, and will continue to save, millions of lives every year. Many of the vaccine-preventable diseases, which terrified our grandparents, are rare today because of effective immunization programs. This has created a dangerous perception that vaccines are no longer necessary. Unfortunately, if enough people in the community don’t vaccinate, the possibility that these deadly diseases will return increases, as we have recently seen.
There are many who are at particularly high risk if exposed to these diseases. These include children who have medical conditions that don’t allow them to be immunized, those fighting diseases such as cancer or immune system defects or children who are just too young to start immunizations. We respect parents’ right to guide their child’s health care. However, we feel it is very important to reiterate that if you choose not to vaccinate your children, this decision also puts our most susceptible patients at risk. These vulnerable children are your family, friends, schoolmates, church members, teammates and loved ones.
Each of us has vaccinated our own children by the same schedule we ask our patients to follow. As experts in pediatric medicine and as parents, we vaccinate because it is the safest thing to do for our children and your children. The most successful way to protect your child is to give all the vaccines at the recommended intervals. Vaccines are proven safe, do not cause autism, and protect children from debilitating and often deadly diseases.
The providers at Hometown Pediatrics have discussed requiring vaccinations in order to establish or continue care at Hometown Pediatrics, and have decided to make a formal policy. Our policy is effective October 1, 2016 and is as follows:
All patients must follow the immunization schedule as published by the CDC based on recommendations from the AAP and ACIP. A copy of this schedule is available online at www.cdc.gov/vaccines.
Any parents wishing to choose an alternative vaccine schedule must speak to your provider before initiation of immunizations at the 2 month old visit. Please understand that our practice follows the schedule as published in the above link, so any deviations from that schedule (unless medical circumstances require the change), will not be permitted.
If you are transferring into our practice, and are unimmunized or underimmunized, we will follow the CDC “catch up” schedule to begin the process of appropriately vaccinating your child.
For those families who are choosing not to vaccinate, we strongly urge you to reconsider. You will be protecting your child and all the children in our wonderful community. Unfortunately, we do not accept families into our practice who make this decision, and therefore will ask you to seek medical care elsewhere.
If after reviewing this policy you have any further questions or concerns, or if you would like more information on vaccinations, please feel free to contact us.