NOVA Pediatrics and Young Adult Medicine’s Immunization Policy Statement
We firmly believe in the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness and to save lives.
We firmly believe in the safety of our vaccines.
We firmly believe that all children and young adults should receive all of the recommended vaccines according to the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
We firmly believe, based on all available literature, evidence, and current studies, that vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities.
We firmly believe that vaccinating children and young adults may be the single most important health-promoting intervention we perform as health care providers and that you can perform as parents/caregivers. The recommended vaccines and their schedule as given are the results of years and years of scientific study and data gathering on millions of children by thousands of our brightest scientists and physicians.
These things being said, we recognize that there has always been and will likely always be controversy surrounding vaccinations.
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 or not they should be given. Due to vaccines, many of you have never seen a child with polio, tetanus, whooping cough, bacterial meningitis, or even chickenpox. Nor have you known a friend or family member whose child died of one of these diseases.
After publication of an unfounded accusation (later retracted) that the MMR vaccine caused autism in 1998, many people in Europe chose not to vaccinate their children. As a result of under-immunization, there were large outbreaks of measles, with several deaths from complications of the disease.
We are making you aware of these facts not to scare you or coerce you, but to emphasize the importance of vaccinating your child. We recognize that the choice may be a very emotional one for some parents. We will do everything we can to educate you that vaccinating, according to the schedule, is the right thing to do. However, should you have any questions, please discuss these with your healthcare provider. In some cases, we may alter the schedule to accommodate parental concerns or reservations. Please be advised, however, that lengthy delays or “breaking up the vaccines” to give one or two at a time over two or more visits goes against expert recommendations because a partially immunized child may still be vulnerable to the preventable disease. This may put your child at risk for serious illness and goes against our medical advice as providers at NOVA Pediatrics and Young Adult Medicine. Should you choose these options, you will be required to sign a “Refusal to Vaccinate”acknowledgment in the event of lengthy delays.
Finally, if you should absolutely refuse to vaccinate your child despite all our efforts, we will ask you to find another health care provider who shares your views. We do not keep a list of such providers, nor would we recommend any such physician.
As medical professionals, we feel very strongly that vaccinating children on schedule with currently available vaccines is absolutely the right thing to do for all children and young adults. Thank you for your time in reading this policy, and please feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about vaccines with your child’s provider.