Vaccine Policy

We at Lakeshore Pediatric Center, PA are dedicated to providing the best care that we can for our patients. To do this effectively, we are in a partnership based on mutual trust with the parents and caregivers of our patients so that we can achieve the goal of best care. Recently, there has been a trend of unjustified fear of side effects from vaccines by well-meaning individuals. Immunizations are one of the most important health interventions a parent can do on behalf of their children, and we want all of our patients to benefit from this modern lifesaving tool. Preventive medicine is the foundation of our pediatric practice and immunizations, we believe, are the cornerstone of this foundation.

While we recognize and respect the parent’s role as the ultimate decision maker for their child’s healthcare, we believe strongly that we are obligated to deliver the safest and best healthcare possible for our patients and our community. We feel professionally uncomfortable caring for children who will not receive a minimal set of vaccinations in a timely manner. These preventable disease can and do cause severe illness, brain damage and death. Although we strongly support all recommended vaccines, there are three series that we must insist that our patients receive in a timely manner to remain a patient in our practice.

The three vaccines are: Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Acellular Pertussis (DTaP); Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib); and Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (Prevnar / PCV7). Attached is the schedule for these vaccines as well as all recommended vaccines. While we believe that vaccines are very safe, and clearly safer than not having vaccines, we recognize that there are risks associated with all interventions and therapies. Please see the attached CDC Vaccine Information Sheets for the three vaccines.

We hope that you take time to read quality papers and internet sites about the benefits of vaccines. The best internet site for vaccine education can be found at www.vaccine.chop.edu which is hosted by one of the finest children’s hospitals in the country, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The federal government also maintains an informative site at the CDC web site: www.cdc.gov/vaccines. Our providers and staff are pleased to answer any questions in person or by phone.

Accurate information about immunizations from our practice and the above mentioned web sites and resources insures that you are well informed about the vaccination decision. Childhood vaccines are available through our office at modest cost or through the local health department at no charge.

As a group practice, we feel we must implement a consistent policy regarding Parental Refusal of Immunizations. Refusal of these three vaccinations indicates a significant difference in philosophy of care, and we feel it would be best to end our doctor-patient relationship. It is our sincere hope that no patient is discharged from our practice due to vaccine refusal.

If you cannot met us halfway and obtain the three vaccines in the required series, we will with great reluctance send a letter to you discharging your child(ren) from our care. If your child requires medical care within the following 30 days we will provide that care. After that period, our obligation ends. When you have chosen another pediatrician, please complete and return by mail or fax an Authorization to Transfer Medical Records form and we will then forward you child’s records to this new provider. By law, we have an additional thirty days to transfer the records.

Some pediatricians are old enough to have practiced pediatrics without Hib, Prevnar and the newer DTaP. In those days many of our journals were filled with articles describing which antibiotics work best for meningitis and whether or not we could use steroids to preserve hearing in the patients who survived. We became good at managing patients with acute meningitis as well as the complications that followed meningitis – seizures, hearing loss, mental retardation and CSF shunts. These articles and patients are quite rare now because meningitis is rare. We for one do not want to practice pediatrics like that again.

Unfortunately, there seems to be an increasing frequency of parents refusing all vaccinations nationally. This places children in unnecessary and potentially severe risk and we feels obligated to do everything we can to reduce the number of children needlessly exposed. Unvaccinated children with fevers undergo more testing such at blood draws and spinal taps to diagnose diseases that could be easily prevented. Unvaccinated children also receive more antibiotics to treat potentially life-threatening diseases. It is our hope that the majority of families with ill-founded fears of vaccines will reconsider and obtain for their children all recommended vaccines. If not, and you are unwilling to obtain at least the three minimal vaccinations we require to remain a patient with us, we ask that you find another doctor’s office to care for your children.

   
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