Over 90 percent of doctors face pressure from the parents of infants and young children for delaying the medically important vaccinations, citing their personal or religious beliefs, and the worst part is that such requests are being forcefully agreed in most cases, a new study has found.
The researchers at the University of Colorado, who conducted the study, said that such actions can lead to the unprecedented increase in the numbers of preventable and infectious diseases.
During the survey, three-quarters of doctors said that they had received request for delay at least some point of time in their career.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccinations against serious illnesses for children between birth and six years. These vaccines provide protection against about 14 diseases like flu and hepatitis, with many potentially fatal one.
According to the doctors, it becomes really difficult for them to convince parents for vaccinations in some of the cases. The condition becomes more complicated as the doctors fear the recommended schedule and medical procedures for the children could be left mid-way if parents’ wish is not brought under consideration.
Allison Kempe, lead author and a pediatrics professor at the School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital at the University of Colorado in Aurora, said, “They feel torn. They feel both the desire to have an alliance with the family but also they feel strongly about the medical and scientific reasons for immunizing.”
For the study, the researchers asked questions related to vaccinations from 534 family physicians and pediatricians between June and November 2012.
Key Highlights of Study’s Findings
- 93 percent of the doctors said they received delay requests from the parents each month.
- 23 percent of doctors said there was a significant surge in the number of delay requests over the previous year.
- 21 percent of doctors said more than 10 percent of parents asked them for spreading out vaccination in their whole practices.
A recent survey in the United States showed around 13 percent of parents using an alternative schedule of vaccination for their toddlers.
Health experts say fear of serious complications like autism and other deadly disease leaves parents to take tough stance against vaccinations. Moreover, there exist personal or religious beliefs of the parents which compel they to opt against vaccines despite the doctors’ recommendations.
The study results were reported in the journal Pediatric on Monday.