A recent study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, looked at the “Physician Response to Parental Requests to Spread out the Recommended Vaccine Schedule.” According to their findings, when parents request that a pediatrician “spread out” the recommended vaccine schedule for their children, doctors often comply.
The epidemiologic studies revealed that while many of the doctors acknowledge that agreeing to a different vaccine schedule puts the children at risk for contracting preventable diseases, they nonetheless accede to the parents’ requests.
The study also found that, despite the big measles news at Disneyland this past winter, only 2-3 percent of parents refuse to have their children vaccinated. That being said, the number of parents asking doctors to deviate from the recommended vaccination schedule seems to be growing.
The vaccine schedule that most pediatricians follow is recommended by the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is supported by the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The recommended immunizations, which you can download here, include vaccines that prevent: Chickenpox, Diphtheria, Hib, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis , Flu, Measles, Mumps, Pertussis, Polio, Pneumococcal, Rotavirus, Rubella and Tetanus.
While the measles outbreak at Disneyland garnered the most attention, the CDC notes that “the United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 644 case from 27 state reported to CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD).” That’s the most cases reported since measles was thought to have been eliminated in the U.S. in 2000. Since January 1, 2015, there have been 170 people with measles in 17 states.
Why are some parents asking doctors to alter the vaccination schedule for their kids?
Some parents simply seem to believe that their children won’t get a disease that requires a vaccination, while other express concerns about complications. This seems to be a growing trend, as the study found that the number of doctors who agreed to change a vaccine schedule based on the concerns or requests of the parents has doubled from 13 percent tin 2009 to almost 40 percent today.
As a parent, and someone who had a terrible case of pertussis (whooping cough) just a few years ago, I would add that it seems like it’s easy to become complacent and assume that something like measles or even pertussis cannot affect us simply because we have not been witness to their harmful effects. In fact, as I was typing this article, I was surprised to find that the word pertussis was not recognized by my version of Word, and I had to add it to my dictionary.