According to a national poll, 41% of parents may seek a new provider because of unvaccinated children at their doctor’s office.
Most American children receive recommended vaccines protecting them from dangerous illnesses like measles and whooping cough.
But doctors sometimes care for children whose parents refuse vaccines against providers’ recommendations. And that is not news many parents of vaccinated children want to hear, suggests the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan.
Three in 10 parents polled say that their child’s primary care office should ask parents who refuse all vaccines to find another health provider.
“Pediatricians strive to keep children healthy through regular well-child care and this includes encouraging families to follow recommended vaccine schedules. When a family refuses all childhood vaccines, it puts providers in a challenging position,” says Mott Poll co-director Sarah Clark, MPH.
“A completely unvaccinated child is unprotected against harmful and contagious diseases, such as measles, pertussis and chicken pox. Children who skip vaccines also pose a risk of transmitting diseases to other patients. This can be especially risky exposure for vulnerable populations, including infants too young to receive vaccines, elderly patients, patients with weakened immune systems or pregnant women.”
The report is based on responses from 2,032 parents of at least one child 18 or under.
The poll also found that many parents are unaware of policies in their child’s primary care office regarding unvaccinated children.
Thirty-nine percent of parents say their provider has a policy requiring children to get all recommended vaccines and 8% say children are required to get some vaccines. Another 15% of parents say their child’s primary care provider’s office has no policy about vaccination while 38% don’t know if one exists.
Only 6% of parents say their child’s primary care office does not allow unvaccinated children to use the same waiting area as other patients, while 2% say the office allows unvaccinated children to use the waiting area if they wear a mask. Twenty-four percent of parents say their child’s primary care office allows unvaccinated children to use the same waiting area as other patients with no restrictions.