Parents are increasingly skipping or delaying vaccines for their young children, despite doctors’ concerns that doing so will leave their children and community at risk for preventable diseases.
Most worries parents feel seem to stem from online searches, where parents read up on potentially harmful side effects of vaccines.
USA Today reported more than 1 in 10 parents are putting their children and communities at risk if by age 6, children haven’t received vaccinations against 14 diseases in at least two dozen separate doses.
A study published in the journal Pediatrics found more than 1,400 parents said they skipped vaccinations altogether. Instead, most of those who opted for a “flexible” vaccine approach decided to delay some shots until their children were older or to space shots apart so their child didn’t get multiple immunizations at once.
This leaves many physicians with concerns, especially since the United States has recently seen a surge in measles and pertussis cases, mostly in areas with gaps in vaccine coverage. Not immunizing children can also lead to the spread of harmful diseases such as whooping cough.
Because of the risk to children and communities, some doctors are now refusing to treat children who aren’t up-to-date with their immunizations.
Under the laws of informed consent, doctors are required to discuss the benefits and risks of any immunization before administering it. Parents who are hesitant about the number of shots given in one visit might feel less nervous if they encounter a doctor willing to discuss their concerns and work with them if they want a little flexibility.