Should pediatricians say bye-bye to unvaccinated tykes?

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Friday’s Medpage Today carried a story about a growing phenomenon: more and more pediatricians are refusing to see children whose parents choose not to vaccinate them. The doctors argue that they cannot in good conscience place their other patients at risk by exposing them in their waiting rooms to unvaccinated children.

ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross says that these policies are “not punitive and can even be educational.” Typically, the doctors first try persuasion with parents who may have been swayed by the fraud and hysteria of the anti-vaccine movement.

ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan comments that implementation of a rule keeping unvaccinated kids away “gets the point across really well — that the danger lies not with the vaccines, but with not getting vaccines.”

Dr. Ross concurs: “It’s perfectly valid. A parent may have a right to make a wrong choice for his own child, but he has no right to be wrong to the detriment of other people’s children.”

Doctors who decide on these policies must suggest an alternative physician, however. Otherwise, they may be accused of “abandonment,” a legal concept which subjects them to the risk of future litigation.