Improving Childhood Vaccination Rates
Due to fears and concerns about safety, as well as false information fueled by media, thousands of parents in the US are not getting their children immunized against dangerous and sometimes deadly viruses.
This not only puts the child at risk, but also children around them who are too young to get vaccinated or cannot be due to an allergy or other medical condition.
In many cases parents do not see a purpose in immunizing, because they no longer see the effects of the deadly viruses for which doctors immunize.
Determining how doctors should handle patients who refuse or wish to delay vaccinating their children is a topic of great concern in the in the medical community. Many pediatricians simply refuse to treat children who have not received vaccinations.
Dr. Douglas S. Diekema, a pediatrician and professor at the Seattle Children’s hospital believes this approach is wrong. In his article “Improving Childhood Vaccination Rates”, he discusses alternative methods for dealing with these parents.
He discusses that parents who oppose vaccination on a basis of religious or strong personal belief will not be convinced otherwise. He claims that the best way to improve immunization rates among children is to seek out parents who are open to the possibility of vaccination, but are unsure.
Diekema mentions the importance of physicians speaking to parents about their doubts and fears about immunization, as well as staying with them even if they do not follow the vaccination schedule. He further believes that choosing not to vaccinate should require an exemption, and that receiving one should be no easier or less expensive than immunization itself. It should require a physician visit as well as counseling in the topic.