Our Alternative Vaccination Philosophy
While we wholehearted believe in vaccination based on fact, we also understand that some may not or remain uncertain. We want you to “feel” confident in your decisions regarding vaccination, while more importantly, we want you to “know” that you have made the right choices. Please scrutinize the origins of your beliefs and past decisions regarding vaccination to ensure that they are well thought out, informed, and as objective as possible.
A Historical Perspective
For some, events of the past decade have made this task very challenging. A recently retracted study (published in 1998) falsely linked the MMR vaccine to autism and other health conditions. At that time, its findings produced worldwide concern about the safety of the MMR vaccine. Vaccination rates subsequently declined while children became ill or died from preventable diseases.
In short order, the scientific community rejected the study. Its findings could not be independently reproduced by other investigators. In addition, the study also contradicted a large body of scientific evidence that was available at the time failing to demonstrate the link.
Unfortunately, the seed of doubt had been planted. For some, fear of the MMR vaccine morphed into a generalized concern about all vaccines and the concept of immunization itself. Mistruths, antidotal unsubstantiated case reports, and personal sentiments became the norm that good science had to defend itself against. This also became the platform that many used when making decisions regarding vaccination.
As a result, some elected not to vaccinate all together while others adopted alternative vaccine schedules created by a few like-minded doctors while many developed their own. The consequences of deviating from the recommended vaccine schedule are beginning to be apparent. Outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases are occurring with an increased frequency at a time when the vaccination rate of our total population is declining.
The last decade was not lost. In an effort to search for good answers to the findings raised in this one study (authored by a group of scientists who coveted false fame over legitimately advancing science), the amount of credible scientific information has markedly expanded. What we know more than ever is that good science supports the safety and necessity of vaccination. It was true then and is remains true today.
To that end, we highly recommend that our patients receive their vaccinations according to the schedules released annually by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Should you have doubts, please schedule a “vaccine consult” to discuss them in advance of your visit. While this is a sensitive matter, it is one that we would like to discuss.
Vaccine Hesitancy and Refusal
In some cases, we may alter the schedule to accommodate parental concerns or reservations. Please be advised, however, that delaying or “breaking up the vaccines” to give one or two at a time over two or more visits goes against expert recommendations, and can put your child at risk for serious illness (or even death) and goes against our medical advice. Such additional visits may require additional co-pays on your part as dictated by your insurance company. Furthermore, please realize that you will be required to sign a “Refusal to Vaccinate” acknowledgement in the event of lengthy delays.
Lastly, a few caregivers continue to elect not to vaccinate in part or in total. As of October 16, 2015, Illinois state law no longer recognizes personal or philosophical beliefs as viable exemptions to vaccination. Accordingly, this law allows only for religious-based exemptions. To make such a request, the standardized Illinois Certificate of Religious Exemption form must be completed. It requires a statement of religious belief(s) supporting EACH vaccine being considered for an exemption. Once completed, the law also requires the signature of the child’s health care provider. Ultimately, the local school authority determines the legitimacy of the request.