Some doctors refuse to see families who will not vaccinate their kids, according to a new report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The research, which will be published in the journal of Pediatrics, found that 21 percent of physicians "often" or "always" dismiss patients from their practice due to vaccine refusal, although dismissal of patients for this reason is discouraged by the AAP.
Instead, the AAP encourages pediatricians to effectively communicate with reluctant parents to help them better understand the need for vaccines.
Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine on the Anschutz Medical Campus collected data from more than 500 pediatricians in the United States in order to determine which characteristics might lead a pediatrician to dismiss a family.
According to the study, "Pediatricians who dismiss families for vaccine refusal are more likely to practice in a private setting, to be from the South, and to be in states without philosophical exemption laws and/or without more difficult exemption policies." (Like California, the largest state to require that all schoolchildren be vaccinated unless they have a medical exemption.)
In addition, 83 percent of surveyed physicians reported more than 1 percent of parents had refused at least one vaccine. The reasons for refusing vaccines are varied, but most involve fears about safety. According to the AAP, however, vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn.