Pediatricians often dismiss families over vaccine refusals, survey finds


About half of pediatricians say their office has a dismissal policy for families who refuse routine vaccinations, a study published in JAMA Network Open found.

Researchers surveyed 303 pediatricians nationwide between April and July 2019 on their current practices, experiences and policies regarding families who refuse or ask to postpone routine vaccinations.

Four findings:

1. Fifty-one percent of pediatricians said their office had a policy to turn away families if they refused routine childhood vaccinations. 

2. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they often or always follow through with the dismissal. 

3. Pediatricians dismissed families for refusing a vaccine (37 percent) more often than for spreading them out (6 percent). 

4. Among respondents who reported  dismissing families for refusing vaccines, 18 percent said parents often or always changed their mind and agreed to vaccinate their child after being informed of  the office policy. 

View the full study here.

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