Immunization Policy Statement

Posted on: 02/19/2013

Lake Forest Pediatrics' Vaccine Policy Statement

Childhood immunizations have saved the lives of millions of children in the US and around the world.

We firmly believe in the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness and to save lives.

We believe in the safety of our vaccines. We would not recommend them for your child if we thought that they were unsafe or we were hesitant to give them to our own children.

All children and young adults should receive all of the vaccines recommended in the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

It is abundantly clear that, based on all available studies and review of the evidence in the world's medical literature, vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities. Thimerosal, a preservative that has been in vaccines for decades (but has been removed from almost all vaccines) does not cause autism or other developmental disabilities.

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 and caregivers. The recommended vaccines and schedule by which they are given are the results of years and years of scientific study and data-gathering on millions of children by thousands of our brightest scientists and physicians.

Vaccination of children 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 family member or friend whose child died of one of these diseases. Such success can make us complacent or even lazy about vaccinating. But such an attitude, if it becomes widespread, can only lead 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 retracted) 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.

The world has become a much smaller place, and infectious diseases which we have come to think are only found in developing countries have repeatedly been brought to our country be travelers who are only a day's journey away.

We are giving you this statement not to scare you or coerce you, but to emphasize the importance of vaccinating your child. We recognize that the choice may be a very emotional one for some parents. We will do everything we can to convince you that vaccinating completely according to the schedule is the right thing to do.

Delaying or "splitting up the vaccines" to give one or two at a time over two or more visits goes against expert recommendations, can put your child at risk for serious illness (or even death) and goes against our medical advice.

Such additional visits will require additional co-pays on your part and you will be required to sign a "Refusal to Vaccinate" acknowledgement if you choose to deviate from the recommended schedule.

Finally, if you should absolutely refuse to vaccinate your child despite all our efforts, we will ask you to find another health care provider. We do not keep a list of such providers, nor could we in good conscience recommend any physician who does not fully support childhood immunization. Please recognize that by not vaccinating you would be putting your child at unnecessary risk of life-threatening illness, disability, and death.

As medical professionals, we feel very strongly that vaccinating children on schedule with currently available vaccines is absolutely the right thing to do for all children and young adults. We have devoted our professional lives to caring for children and studying what is best for their health. We appreciate your entrusting us with the care of your children, and offer you our pediatric advice based on the best scientific information that is available. Your decision about immunization should be based on the science that has guided experts in the field of childhood diseases and immunization, and not directed by rumors spread on the Internet or television talk shows. Thank you for your time in reading this policy, and please feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about vaccines with any one of us.

Lake Forest Pediatrics Associates

Immunization controversy is not new. Vaccination was first developed around the time of the first American colonies. and at first was not widely accepted. Benjamin Franklin was originally opposed to the new procedure of smallpox vaccination, until his 4- year old son died of the infection... Franklin later wrote in his autobiography:

In 1736, I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the smallpox-I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it, my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.

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