If you are trying to build a practice and are a doctor who has been asked by a parent to postpone a child’s vaccinations, you are definitely not alone. According to a recent study, 93 percent of doctors say they have received requests from parents to delay childhood vaccinations. The same study reports that most of those doctors or complying with those requests.
A Difficult Situation
The study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado, appeared in a recent issue of the medical journal Pediatrics. The research team surveyed 815 family doctors and pediatricians via regular mail as well as e-mail. They asked whether the doctors had received any requests to delay immunizations, for children younger than 2 years of age, and also asked how the doctors responded to those requests. The article reported that of the 534 doctors who responded to the survey, 21 percent said that more than 10 percent of parents of the children they treated asked for immunization delays.
To say this creates a difficult situation is putting it mildly. Even though 87 percent of doctors responding to the survey said such requests put children at risk of developing a preventable disease, the majority of them said they agreed to parents’ wishes “sometimes,” “often” or “always.” Approximately 80 percent of respondents were worried that denying the requests would spur parents to look for another doctor, while 82 percent said agreeing to delay childhood vaccinations would build trust with the parents.
One Possible Solution
The research team said that the findings of the survey raised serious concerns, namely that spreading out vaccinations or delaying them increases the chances that children will develop a highly preventable illness. They suggest doctors speak with parents very early in a pregnancy in order to educate them on the effectiveness and safety of vaccines. In addition, the team suggests that doctors use social media to help parents make well informed decisions that are in the best interests of their children.
Candor Healthcare helps medical practices strengthen their relationships with patients and also provides a wide range of management services. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your practice, contact us online or call 817-421-5500.