Providing Quality Care in Wayne and Pike Counties

VACCINE POLICY

In the wake of a global rise in vaccine preventable dissease, the providers of Pediatric Practices of Notheastern PA would like to clearly and unanimously state our position about childhood vaccinations with the following Immunization Policy, effective April 1, 2011.

We believe, as medical professionals:

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In the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness and save lives.

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In the safety of our vaccines

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That all children and young adults should receive ALL of the recommended vaccines according to the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, unless medically contraindicated.

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That, based on all available literature, evidence and current studies, that vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities.

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That thimerosal, a preservative that has been in vaccines for decades and remains in some vaccines, does not cause autism or other developmental disabilities.

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That vaccinating children and young adults may be the single most important health-promoting intervention we perform as health care providers, and that you can perform as parents/caregivers. The recommended vaccines and their schedule are the result of years and years of scientific study and data gathering on millions of children by our brightest scientists and physicians.

These things being said, we realize there has always been and will likely always be controversy surrounding vaccination. 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 you have never seen a child with polio, tetanus, whooping cough, bacterial meningitis, or even chickenpox, or known a friend or family member whose child died from one of these diseases. Such success can lead to complacency about vaccinating.

But such an attitude, if it becomes widespread can– and has– led to tragic results. Over the past several years many people in Europe have chosen not to vaccinate their children with the MMR vaccine after publication of an unfounded suspicion (later completely discredited) that the vaccine caused autism. As a result of under-immunization, there have been small outbreaks of measles and several deaths from complications of measles in Europe over the past several years. Ten infants died from pertussis in California in 2010. Closer to home, in 2009, several young children in the greater Philadelphia area died from complications of Haemophilus Influenzae, a vaccine preventable disease. We find this to be unacceptable.

We are making you aware of these facts to emphasize the importance of vaccinating your child. We recognize that the choice may be a very emotional one for some parents. Because of our strong believe that the benefits of vaccination greatly surpasses the risks, we will remain diligent in our attempts to decrease the devastating effects of vaccine-preventable illness by promoting adherence to the well studied vaccine schedule set forth by the CDC and AAP. If you have concerns, please discuss them with your health care provider at your child’s visit. In some cases, we may alter the schedule to accommodate parental concerns or reservations.

Please be advised, however, that delaying vaccines or utilizing a random vaccine schedule that breaks up the vaccines over multiple visits goes against expert recommendations, can put your child at risk for serious illness or death, and goes against the medical advice of the providers of Pediatric Practices of Northeastern PA.

Finally, if, despite all our efforts, you refuse to vaccinate your children, we will ask you to find another health care provider who shares your views. We do not keep a list of such providers nor would we recommend any such physician. This policy becomes effective for all new patients entering our practice on or after 4/1/2011. For our established, un-immunized patients, we will revisit the topic of vaccines at your next visit with your primary care provider. Decisions about whether we will continue to care for established, un-immunized patients will be based on those conversations and at the discretion of the individual provider.

Thank you for your time and attention in reading this policy and please discuss any questions or concerns you may have with any one of us.