The physicians and staff of Amherst Pediatrics are committed to the health care and safety of your child. Part of that commitment includes our recommendations for preventative health care, including vaccinations. We recommend that all children and young adults receive the routine vaccines according to the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Vaccinating children and young adults is one of the most important aspects of the health care we provide to your children.
We know of the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness and to save lives. Additionally, we have confidence in the safety record of the vaccines. The recommended vaccines and schedule are the result of years of research and studies by some of the country's leading scientists and physicians.
These things being said, we recognize that there has always been and will likely always be controversy surrounding vaccination. Indeed, Benjamin Franklin, was opposed to smallpox vaccine until scientific data convinced him otherwise. Tragically, he had delayed inoculating his son Franky, who contracted smallpox and died at the age of 4, leaving Ben with a lifetime of guilt and remorse. Quoting Mr. Franklin’s autobiography:
“In 1736, I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if the child died under it: my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.”
The vaccine campaign is truly a victim of its own success. It is precisely because vaccines are so effective at preventing illness that we are even discussing whether they should be given. Because of vaccines, most parents have never seen a child with polio, tetanus, whooping cough, bacterial meningitis, or even chickenpox, or known a friend or family member whose child died of one of these diseases. Such success can make us complacent about vaccinating. But such an attitude, if it becomes widespread, will lead to tragic results.
In recent years, there have been some pockets of resistance to vaccines for unfounded reasons. As a result, diseases like polio, measles, and whooping cough have returned and have adversely affected the well being of many children throughout the world.
We are making you aware of these facts to emphasize the importance of vaccinating your child. We recognize that the choice may be a very emotional one for some parents. However, we believe that vaccinating children according to the recommended schedule is the right thing to do. Delaying or “breaking up” the vaccine schedule goes against expert recommendations and can put your child at risk for serious illness and disability (or even death) and is against our medical advice. Finally, if you should absolutely refuse to vaccinate your child despite our recommendations, we will ask you to find another health care provider who shares your views.
Thank you for taking the time to read this policy, and please feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about vaccines with any one of us.
Marissa Burg, MD Thomas Cozza, MD Charles Francemone, MD Nga Le, MD Amanda Persaud, MD Amritjot Salh, MD Russell Vaughan, MD Nicole Mackey, PNP Kayla Mansell, PA-C