Seventy-three percent of pediatricians say that parents are increasingly refusing vaccines for their children because they’re not necessary, say the authors of a new study.
The study is based on a 2013 survey of pediatricians and shows the number of parents refusing vaccinations for that reason has increased from 63 percent in 2006.
Other top reasons parents delay vaccines include concern about discomfort (75 percent) and immune system burden concerns (73 percent), according to the study published in Pediatrics. In addition, researchers reveal that 11 percent of pediatricians “always” dismiss patients for their parents’ ongoing refusal to vaccinate their children–and that number is up from 6 percent in 2006.
“Vaccines have been so good at taking diseases away that when we don’t see diseases, we don’t think they’re important,” Kathryn Edwards, M.D. a pediatrician and director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program, told STAT News.
Still, the jump in measles and mumps outbreaks is highlighting the need for vaccinations, reports the publication.
And professional associations are weighing in. Pediatricians should feel comfortable excluding parents who continue to refuse vaccinations for their children, according to a policy statement issued today by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Her experience with a vaccinate-or-leave policy with her patients was “gut-wrenching,” Alison Ziari, M.D., chief of pediatrics at the Austin (Texas) Regional Clinic, told The Los Angeles Times. “These are our families. We love them and we want to care for them,” she added.