Should You 'Fire' a Patient for Refusing Vaccines?

May 04, 2017

A stern letter written by a California pediatrician warning parents that their children must be vaccinated or leave his practice is making the rounds on social media. The missive was written in 2015 but has recently resurfaced, once again sparking controversy among patients and physicians alike.

According to a recent American Academy of Pediatrics survey, nearly 90% of pediatricians reported that they experienced parental vaccine refusals in 2013 compared with about 75% in 2006. Human papillomavirus, influenza, and measles, mumps, rubella vaccines were the vaccines most likely to be refused, a recent Medscape survey also found.

Vaccine refusal can be a tricky area for clinicians to navigate. Some experts feel that working with families is preferred but if they are unwilling to bend, the pediatrician should consider severing ties. In contrast, others feel that continuing relationships with refusing families may be the only way to change their minds.



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