Monday, March 2nd, 2015
Doctors are well aware of the potential risks that delaying vaccines can have, but, according to new research from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), most doctors are accommodating parents’ requests to alter their child’s vaccine schedule.
Although doctors agree that delaying or spacing out vaccines can increase their chance of contracting illnesses (like measles) and infecting others with these diseases, the importance of building parents’ trust seems to override these negative consequences in many situations.
The study, published today in the journal of Pediatrics, surveyed 534 pediatricians to find out how often parents requested postponing vaccines for children under the age of 2, how pediatricians felt about these requests, and what methods they used to respond.
Nearly all pediatricians (93 percent) reported have been asked to delay vaccines at least once per month—of those pediatricians, one-third said they complied with parents’ requests “often” or “always,” and another third caved in “sometimes.”
Most doctors complied with these requests in the hopes of building a better relationship with their family, and to avoid losing the child as a patient. “Parents hear a lot of frightening things about vaccines from family members, friends, and the media,” says David Hill, M.D., a pediatrician in Wilmington, North Carolina and author of Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro. “But I believe that the best way to protect children from disease is to vaccinate them on time and completely.”
The AAP’s‘ vaccine schedule, which was recently updated in late January, is compiled by a panel of 60 experts from the Advisory Community on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and details exactly when a child should get certain vaccines. “The schedule is designed very thoughtfully,” explains Wendy Hunter, M.D., a pediatrician in San Diego and author of the Baby Science blog. “The timing of vaccinations is proven safe and effective when the schedule is followed.”
And “going to a pediatrician is not like going to Starbucks,” says Ari Brown, M.D., a pediatrician and Parents advisor who’s also the author of the Baby 411 series. “If it feels that way, with parents ordering up their favorite shots and rejecting others, then they aren’t taking advantage of the knowledge that’s advocating for their child’s health.”
The AAP encourages pediatricians to continue working with reluctant parents, to educate and influence them to adhere to the vaccine schedule. Physicians can choose their own strategies to communicate with parents who are still uncertain about vaccines. “I find that given time to build a trusting relationship, we can usually work together to keep children as safe and healthy as possible,” says Dr. Hill.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter:@CAITYstjohn
Photo of child getting a vaccine via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released an updated vaccine schedule for babies and older kids.
The 2015 recommended childhood and adolescence immunization schedules comes at a time when the AAP is urging parents to vaccinate their kids against measles due to the current outbreak (which has increased to over 70 confirmed cases).
Changes to the vaccination schedule include new columns for:
- giving babies traveling outside the U.S. a first dose of the MMR vaccine (for measles) between 6 and 11 months
- giving kids the flu vaccine starting at age 2, with some kids needing double doses between ages 2 and 8
- indicating double doses are no longer needed for kids ages 9 to 10
Footnotes included on the schedules have also been updated, including one about the meningococcal vaccine (for meningitis), which clarifies proper and safe dosing for high-risk babies.
The MMR vaccine update is important to note, as babies should only get two doses, the first between 12 and 15 months and the second between 4 and 6 years. But an exception is now being made for babies between 6 and 11 months who are traveling outside the country; they should be receiving three doses (the first before 12 months, the second between 12 and 15 months, the third about four weeks after the second dose).
For kids older than 12 months traveling outside the country, they should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, the first one between 12 and 15 months and the second one about four weeks later.
See the complete updates to the AAP vaccine schedules here.
More About Measles
Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea
Image: Calender with “vaccine” notation via Shutterstock
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Child Health, Parenting News
Thursday, January 24th, 2013
Nearly half of U.S. children receive recommended vaccines on a delayed schedule, a new report conducted by Kaiser Permanente has found. Further, researchers say that the rising number of children who skip the vaccines altogether could reintroduce some long-eliminated diseases back into the mainstream. More from Reuters:
“What we’re worried about is if (undervaccination) becomes more and more common, is it possible this places children at an increased risk of vaccine-preventable diseases?” said study leader Jason Glanz, with Kaiser Permanente Colorado in Denver.
“It’s possible that some of these diseases that we worked so hard to eliminate (could) come back.”
Glanz and his colleagues analyzed data from eight managed care organizations, including immunization records for about 323,000 children.
During the study period, the number of children who were late on at least one vaccine – including their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) shots – rose from 42 percent to more than 54 percent.
Babies born towards the end of the study were late on their vaccines for more days, on average, than those born earlier.
“When that happens, it can create this critical mass of susceptible individuals,” said Saad Omer, from the Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta, who wasn’t involved in the new study.
Just over one in eight children went undervaccinated due to parents’ choices. For the rest, it wasn’t clear why they were late getting their shots. Some could have bounced in and out of insurance coverage, Glanz suggested, or were sick during their well-child visits, so doctors postponed vaccines.
The report comes on the heels of new data from the Institute of Medicine saying that the recommended infant vaccine schedule is safe for children.
Image: Baby vaccine, via Shutterstock
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