I remember when I took my first-born baby to the pediatrician for his first checkup 40 years ago. Like most young Moms, I looked up to my pediatrician and completely trusted him. I did everything he told me to do, never questioning his expertise or doubting him, believing that he would never recommend or do anything that would put my baby in harm’s way.
Much has changed since 1978. Back then infants and children were getting half as many vaccines as they do today.1 Parents had no information at all about vaccine risks and failures. We just followed the doctor’s orders.
Today, the subject of vaccination is the most often discussed health topic in America. Not a day goes by without mothers and fathers being reminded that the health of the nation depends upon making sure their children get every one of the 69 doses of 16 CDC recommended vaccines exactly on schedule. 2 3 4
CDC Vaccine Schedule: A Commandment
These days, that CDC vaccine schedule is no longer being viewed simply as a recommendation, it is being treated as a commandment. We are told it is our patriotic civic duty to get our children vaccinated and ourselves, too. The implication is that we are committing treason if we don’t.5
These days, a well baby checkup can be a frightening and gut-wrenching experience for a new Mom bringing her baby to the pediatrician’s office. That is because, with the approval of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), many pediatricians have taken the hardline position that they do not have to discuss vaccination with parents or, if they do, they can threaten them with dismissal from the practice for not obeying a direct order.6 7 8
Almost No Medical Contraindications to Vaccination
The National Vaccine Information Center is regularly contacted by mothers reporting that pediatricians are refusing to provide medical care to their babies if they decline or ask to delay even one of the two dozen doses of nine vaccines that CDC officials order pediatricians to give infants in the first year of life.9 10 This schedule includes a hepatitis B vaccination on the day of birth and eight more doses of vaccines given at the two-month well baby checkup.11 12 It is an early childhood vaccine schedule that, in 2013, the Institute of Medicine concluded has not been adequately studied for safety.13 14
Because public health officials have eliminated almost all medical contraindications to vaccination, pediatricians are insisting on re-vaccinating children who have had serious vaccine reactions, including convulsions.15 16 They are writing off vaccine reactions as unimportant, even after children regress further and further into chronic poor health following each series of vaccinations.17 18
Sacred Trust Between Pediatricians and Mothers Broken
Pediatricians’ offices have become ugly battlegrounds. Intelligent, well-informed and loving parents asking legitimate questions about vaccination are being belittled and treated with disrespect and contempt by too many pediatricians robotically implementing the CDC’s inflexible vaccine schedule in clear violation of the informed consent principle.
Don’t take my word for it, go to NVIC’s Cry for Vaccine Freedom Wall and read report after report of just how terrifying pediatric check-ups have become. The sacred trust between mothers and pediatricians fostered by mutual respect and shared decision-making has been broken. Sadly, the admiration and trust that mothers used to have for family pediatricians is melting away and being replaced by fear.
Doctors are not our masters. We pay them well to do a job, not to exploit and terrify us. Discrimination, coercion and force have no place in modern medicine or in public health policy.19 20 21 22 23 24
Injustice, Suffering and Social Reform
Every social reform movement in history has been shaped by injustice and suffering. Suffering is often the greatest catalyst for change, and change will come if we believe it is possible. Working to successfully reform vaccine policies and laws that cause suffering is not an impossible dream.25 It will be done if we believe it can be done.
It is time to let our elected representatives know that we want them to put legal boundaries on the authority that doctors and public health officials wield in our society.
It’s your health. Your family. Your choice.
2 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Recommended Immunization Schedules for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 Years, United States, 2018.
3 Kempe A, O’Leary S et al. Physician Response to Parental Requests to Spread Out the Recommended Vaccine Schedule. Pediatrics 2015; 135(4).
4 Radcliffe S. Not in My Office: Pediatricians Debate Treating Unvaccinated Kids. Healthline Feb. 5, 2015.
6 American Academy of Pediatrics. Medical Versus Nonmedical Exemptions for Child Care and School Attendance. Pediatrics August 2016.
8 Nelson R. New AAP Policy on Patient Dismissal for Vaccine Refusal May "Erode Solidarity" Among Pediatricians. Infectious Disease Advisor May 24, 2018.
9 Radcliffe S. Not in My Office: Pediatricians Debate Treating Unvaccinated Kids. Healthline Feb. 5, 2015.
10 ABC-TV (Denver). More Doctors Refusing to Treat Unvaccinated Children. Nov. 2, 2015
13 Institute of Medicine Committee on the Assessment of Studies of Health Outcomes Related to the Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule. Summary: Health Outcomes (p. 5-6) and Conclusions About Scientific Findings (p. 11) and Review of Scientific Findings (p. 75-98). The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence and Future Studies; Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press 2013.
14 NVIC. National Vaccine Information Center Supports Three of Five Recommendations of New IOM Report on U.S. Childhood Immunization Schedule Safety and Calls for Transparency. Business Wire Jan. 16, 2013.
15 CDC. Recommendations and Guidelines of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP): Contraindications and Precautions. Table 4-2. Conditions incorrectly perceived as contraindications or precautions to vaccination (i.e., vaccines may be given under these conditions). Sept. 14, 2018.
20 Mathews J. Unvaccinated Families Addresses Should Be Made Public. Time Magazine Feb. 13, 2015.
22 Fentiman LC. When it comes to vaccines, rich parents get away with child neglect. Washington Post May 10, 2017.
23 Fisher BL. Class and Race Profiling in the Vaccine Culture War. National Vaccine Information Center July 17, 2017.
24 Caceres M. Professor Says Parents Have No Right to Refuse Vaccines for Their Children. The Vaccine Reaction Oct. 31, 2018.
26 Fisher BL. The Moral Right to Conscientious, Philosophical and Personal Belief Exemption to Vaccination. National Vaccine Advisory Committee May 2, 1997.
27 Fisher BL. Why is Informed Consent to Vaccination a Human Right? National Vaccine Information Center June 28, 2018.
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