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Parental Refusal of Vaccination: What Should the Pediatrician Do?
There may be many reasons for parents to refuse a physician's advice to have their child vaccinated for significant diseases which can be acquired in childhood or later. But what is the pediatrician or family physician to do next after the refusal. Certainly the doctor should, after explaining the benefit of vaccination to the child but also the benefit to the community and any realistic risks involved, ask questions to the family about what they understood as the value and risks and then why they are continuing to refuse vaccination. But what if the refusal is not based on some personal financial or some medical or scientifically proven contra-indication but on a religious or some personal idiosyncrasy? Should the physician then discharge the patient from further care and tell the parents to find another physician? Should the physician report the parents to the appropriate governmental child protective agency or the health department? Or is it professional and ethical for the physician simply to accept the refusal as a parental right and continue caring for the child?
If you were the pediatrician.. what would you do? ..Maurice.