US study shows 1 in 5 pediatricians drop families who refuse vaccines

Pediatricians refuse to serve families who turn down vaccines | Courtesy of myvmc.org
A recent study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Anschutz Medical Campus, found that a notable number of pediatricians choose to dismiss the families who turn down vaccines for their children rather than continue to provide health services.

The study involved a survey of more than 800 pediatricians throughout the U.S. The results showed that one of our every five pediatricians, or 21 percent of pediatricians in the U.S., refuse to service families who decline vaccinations for their children.

The questionnaire also assessed various attributes of the doctors who chose to dismiss their families. Results showed that pediatricians were more likely to dismiss families if the doctors practiced privately, were from the South, and lived in states that didn’t have philosophical exemption laws or had challenging exemption policies. Pediatricians living in states that enable families to decline vaccines due to philosophical reasons were not as likely to refuse families because of vaccine disagreements.

The survey was originally meant to evaluate which factors cause physicians to dismiss families in their practice.

"Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages providers from dismissing families, some providers continue to do so," Sean O'Leary, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said. "Instead of dismissing families, we need a better understanding of the reasons for vaccine refusal to find evidence-based strategies for communication that are effective at convincing hesitant parents to vaccinate."

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