Vaccine Policy Update: March 2, 2015
Since we first opened in 2008 Birmingham Pediatrics + Wellness Center has had as our mission partnering with families to deliver traditional medicine in a non-traditional way. Our goal has always been to provide families with the support they need in the form of evidence-based scientific data, real-world practical advice, and a sympathetic ear that comes from raising our own children as you raise yours to ensure they grow up healthy and safe.
This openness to partnering with families along with our commitment to total child wellness has drawn a lot different types of families to the practice over the years which we really enjoy. We understand that all parents want only the best for their children and make decisions that they feel are in their child’s best interest. At times, however, we don’t agree with the choices parents make and the decision not to vaccinate is a decision we can no longer passively accept.
Vaccine preventable illnesses like whooping cough, chicken pox and now measles have returned with increasing prevalence and the day-to-day risk of exposure is real. These diseases carry substantial risk, especially to the very young and those who cannot be vaccinated. We are fortunate that over the last decade the science regarding the safety of vaccines has come a long way: dispelling the association between vaccination and autism for example and reinforcing the safety of vaccination overall. We as providers of evidence-based medical care for your children can no longer support the notion that opting out of vaccination is in your child’s best interest nor is it in the best interest of the community at large.
For these reasons, after much deliberation, we have decided that we will continue to welcome and work with the families we currently have in our practice but can no longer add new families to the practice who are opting not to vaccinate. We will accept new families who want to vaccinate on an alternate schedule and encourage all families new and established who have questions or concerns about vaccination to set up a 30 minute Vaccine Consultation appointment with one of us to discuss these issues in a relaxed way. Partnering with you to answer your questions, allay your fears and concerns, and gain confidence as you put a schedule in place for vaccination is essential. New families joining the practice will need to initiate vaccination of their infants by 6 months of age or within a month of joining the practice if their child is older than 6 months and behind on vaccinations. We feel the Vaccine Consultation appointment is great way to lay the groundwork for the relationship we will build if you’re a new family to the practice with vaccine concerns and will reinforce the relationship if you’re already established here.
The vast majority of our patients follow the usual schedule and are fully vaccinated which is the best protection we can offer. For those opting for an alternate schedule we’d rather have you vaccinate more slowly than not at all and will work to encourage your children to reach the goal of full vaccination by age 2 for the primary series, and then again at kindergarten and middle school when vaccine boosters are due.
All of the providers in the office vaccinate our children on the recommended schedule. Some of us have special needs children and still vaccinate on schedule because we understand that the science is clear: vaccines are safe and effective and our best chance of protecting our children against the illnesses that are making a real comeback. No vaccine is risk-free but the diseases they protect against are much riskier and much worse.
We look forward to answering your questions and partnering with you in achieving the very best health for your children.