A wide-ranging investigation early this year proved conclusively that research linking autism and vaccines was fraudulent, and it seemed the debate over immunizing children might go away.  But it didn't.  Many pediatricians are now refusing to accept unvaccinated children as patients.


While most parents do get their children vaccinated on schedule with their doctors' recommendations, some still believe vaccines cause autism, and this has many pediatricians worried.  Some pediatric practices are responding by requiring patients to be immunized on schedule or find another doctor -- no shots, no service.

Why would a children's doctor turn anti-vaccine families away?  Dr. Scott  Goldstein runs a large pediatrics clinic in Chicago, and he says he implemented a pro-vaccine policy to protect vulnerable children -- infants and those with critical illnesses who are not able to be immunized, who could be infected by exposure to unvaccinated children who may be in the waiting room.

So far, reaction to Dr. Goldstein's policy has been mostly positive.  He says most parents are happy about it. Goldstein says he wouldn't have adopted this policy if he were the only pediatrician in town, but he's not. He says there are plenty of pediatricians in his area, and parents who don't like his stance have plenty of other doctors to choose from.

The wording of pro-vaccine policies varies from practice to practice, but a clinic in Massachusetts puts it bluntly in a full page of their website:  "Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children are not a good fit for our practice and will be referred elsewhere."

The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that pro-vaccination policies could undermine children's access to health care, and says families with doubts about immunization should still have access to good medical care for their children.

What does your child's pediatrician think about treating unvaccinated children?

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