We would like to briefly present our policy on vaccination for children and adults.We firmly believe:
- in the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness and to save lives.
- in the safety of vaccines.
- that all children and adults should receive all of the recommended vaccines according to the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- based on all available literature, evidence, and current studies, that vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities.
- that thimerosal, a preservative that has been in vaccines for decades and remains in some vaccines, does not cause autism or other developmental disabilities.
- that vaccinating children and young adults may be the single most important health-promoting intervention we perform as healthcare providers, and that you can perform as parents/caregivers. The recommended vaccines and the vaccine schedule are the results of years and years of scientific study and data gathered on millions of children by thousands of our brightest scientists and physicians.
- as medical providers we have an obligation to protect the public from these diseases, not just individuals, and therefore preventing the spread of disease though herd immunity is key to this goal.
This said, we recognize that there has always been and will likely always be controversy surrounding vaccination. Indeed, Benjamin Franklin, persuaded by his brother, was opposed to smallpox vaccine until scientific data convinced him otherwise. Tragically, he had delayed inoculating his favorite son Franky. The boy contracted smallpox and died at the age of 4, leaving Franklin with a lifetime of guilt and remorse. In his autobiography, Franklin wrote: “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.”
The vaccine campaign is truly a victim of its own success. It is precisely because vaccines are so effective at preventing illness that we are even discussing whether or not they should be given. Because of vaccines, many of parents have never seen a child with polio, tetanus, bacterial meningitis, or known a friend or family member whose child died of one of these diseases. Such success can make us complacent and uninformed about vaccinating. But such an attitude, if it becomes widespread, can only lead to tragic results.
After publication of an unfounded accusation (later retracted) that MMR vaccine may have caused autism in 1998, many Europeans chose not to vaccinate their children. As a result of underimmunization, Europe experienced large outbreaks of measles, with several deaths from disease complications. In 2012, there were more than 48,000 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in the United States, resulting in 22 deaths. Most victims were infants younger than six months of age. Many children who contracted the illness had parents who made a conscious decision not to vaccinate. This is a good example of how losing herd immunity by not vaccinating can result in a quick spread of a disease. Not vaccinating is not only putting yourself or your child at risk, but also others who are in contact with them.
In 2015, there was a measles outbreak in Disneyland, California (probably started by an infected park visitor who had traveled from the Philippines). The outbreak eventually spread to 147 people and, again, many were too young to have been vaccinated. We are making you aware of these facts not to scare you 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. We will do everything we can to convince you that vaccinating according to the schedule is the right thing to do. However, should you have doubts, please discuss these with your healthcare provider in advance of your visit. In some cases, we may alter the schedule to accommodate parental concerns or reservations. Please be advised, however, that delaying or “breaking up the vaccines” to give one or two at a time over two or more visits goes against expert recommendations, and can put your child at risk for serious illness (or even death) and goes against our medical advice as providers at Osteopathic Family Medicine, LLC. Such additional visits will require additional co-pays on your part.
Finally, if you should absolutely refuse to vaccinate your child despite all our efforts, we will ask you to find another healthcare provider who shares your views. We do not keep a list of such providers, nor would we recommend any such physician. Please recognize that by not vaccinating, you are putting your child at unnecessary risk for life-threatening illness and disability, and even death. As medical professionals, we feel very strongly that vaccinating your child on schedule with currently available vaccines is absolutely the right thing to do to protect all children and young adults. Thank you for taking the time to read this policy. Please feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about vaccines with any one of us.Here's a link to the AAP Healthy Children Website
, which has research articles for parents to read about the common concerns they have about vaccines.Click Here for the current CDC Immunization Schedule.
Aaron Way, D.O.
Malinda Anderson, APRN
Jamie Oakley, PA-C