Could your pediatrician fire you? Yup, and its happening around the U.S., according to an article in Time Magazine. The issue at hand: Vaccinations. Pediatricians say parents who refuse to vaccinate their children put other children (especially infants) and people with compromised immune systems at risk.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the percentage of pediatricians in the U.S. who are turning away “vaccine refusers" rose from 18 percent in 2005 to 25 percent in 2011.
When a 1998 study linked vaccines to autism– that and Jenny McCarthy’s books hit shelves on how she believed a vaccine caused her son to develop autism – many parents stopped vaccinating their children. That's despite the British Medical Journal calling that same study an “elaborate fraud” earlier this year.
When it comes to the benefits of vaccinations, consider these statistics:
In 1952, there were more than 57,000 cases of polio in the
U.S. In 1955 the polio vaccine cames out and in 2002 there were 0 cases.
There has been an 88 percent drop of U.S. deaths due to chicken pox over 12 year period after the vaccine's introduction as a routine inoculation in 1995.
And now with at least 30 percent of children in all age ranges skipping at least some of their recommended shots, diseases long-thought to be gone, as noted in the Times article, are resurfacing.
This year, cases of measles have grown to 154 and pediatricians attribute the growth to vaccination refusal. From 2001 to 2008,
there were less than 60 cases. That’s a significant jump in one year’s time.
In the article, the author writes, “All these dangers (of exposure to diseases without proper vaccination) can become exponentially worse in a pediatrician’s office, where kids with multiple illnesses and varying immunization levels crowd together.” Hence why some doctors are taking a hard line.
Its a good idea to talk to your pediatrician about their philosophies on vaccinations. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that "firing" a vaccination refuser should be a last resort.
If you have questions, about vaccinations, the AAP has a fabulous Q&A section and tackles some of the most common myths.