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Vaccine Wars; Younger Doctor’s Against Them

Posted Oct 21 2011 3:54pm

It now appears younger doctors have less belief in vaccines than their peers

The vaccine war has been in hot debate especially with a decrease of parent’s getting their children vaccines. Now the younger doctors weigh in their beliefs and seem to be questioning the safety and effectiveness of these shots.

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey of 551 healthcare providers responded to a questionnaire which had inquired on their views on the risk of range of vaccine-preventable diseases which had included polio and influenza.

The studies findings had been presented Thursday in Boston, Massachusetts, at the annual meeting of the Infectious Disease Society of America.

The findings had revealed that 15% of recent graduates from medical schools have less belief in the vaccine in comparison to their peers. The research also advocated young doctors have a different view point when it comes to risk versus benefit profile of vaccines.


Dr. Bruce Gellin, MD, Director of the National Vaccine Program in Washington had remarked that for a long time they had suspected this. Dr. Gellin was not involved with the study. Dr. Gellin further states that as more understanding of the disease goes away. Younger doctors are only hearing about the vaccine in regards to what the vaccine is to do.

Researchers did suggest the reasoning may be due to the fact younger doctors are less eager about the vaccine because they are part of the generation who grew up with vaccines and never had diseases like chicken pox.

The study had also revealed that with each increase of five years from graduation had been linked with a remarked 18% decrease in the chance that the doctor would believe in the high effectiveness overall.

Also at the meeting another vaccine study had been presented. In the Midwest, 909 pediatricians were surveyed concerning parents feelings towards childhood vaccine recommendations. This studies findings had revealed a majority of parents are most likely to reject or delay the MMR vaccine, HPV vaccine (provides protection against some strains of virus which causes cervical cancer) and the flu vaccine.

Main reasons among parents were the fear of autism. Great number of shots and fear of serious side effects.

Practitioners had noted they had attempted to educate the parents and discuss their fears when parents had postponed or refused shots.

In a startling notation 21% of doctors had remarked they discontinued services of families from their practice for constant refusal of vaccines. In the state of Iowa it had been noted that 38% of doctors have already done so.

More startling revelation a national survey conducted in May of several hundred pediatricians had revealed around 25% either always, often, or sometimes discontinues services to families for vaccine refusal in the primary series (basic vaccines).

Dr. Allison Kempe, lead author of the above study had noted that even for her the vaccine choice is an ethical dilemma.

Dr. Kempe shared her own analysis in her own resolved form:

Possible Harm:

Refusing the vaccine are possibly causing future harm to the child the argument is the doctor is complicit in that harm.

Other Children:

Children in waiting rooms under 22 months are too young for full vaccination.

Who is at liability?

If you do not vaccinate a child then they develop measles or any other infectious disease would this make the pediatrician in someway legally at risk?

Does Justice Prevail?

Vaccines are not 100% effective. However, if enough people do receive them the community obtains what is referred to as“herd immunity” Those children that are not vaccinated will still receive the benefits from the “herd immunity”.  For analogy of ethics Dr. Kempe used the following; people that refuse to donate organs but still wish to receive them.

Dr. Lisa Lehmann, Director of the Center for Bioethics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital had remarked despite the above concerns doctors should not let go of patients.

It appears that Dr. Lehmann and American Academy of Pediatrics have the same opinion on dropping families. You just do not drop families that are against vaccines.

Dr. Lehmann states that parents have to make decisions for their children that they think are in their best interests.”

In closing Dr. Lehmann notes if too many pediatricians begin to refuse care to families against vaccines there may be a large issue in regard to access of care.

The World Health Organization has a page dedicated to myths of vaccines located at six common misconceptions on immunization online.

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