Some parents would replace doctors who see vaccine-refusing families

Forty percent of U.S. parents say they would likely find a new doctor if their child’s primary care provider sees families who refuse childhood vaccines, a nationwide poll finds.

And three in 10 say their child’s primary care provider should not treat youngsters whose parents refuse all vaccines.

Those are key findings of the latest C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health from the University of Michigan. The findings, published Aug. 19, are based on responses from 2,032 parents of at least one child aged 18 or younger.

“When a family refuses all childhood vaccines, it puts providers in a challenging position,” poll co-director Sarah Clark said in a university news release announcing the findings.

Not only is an unvaccinated child unprotected against harmful and contagious diseases (such as measles, whooping cough and chickenpox), those who skip vaccines also pose a risk of transmitting diseases to other patients, she pointed out.

“This can be especially risky exposure for vulnerable populations, including infants too young to receive vaccines, elderly patients, patients with weakened immune systems or pregnant women,” Clark added.

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