HANOVER PEDIATRICS APPROACH TO IMMUNIZATIONS
While not new, the controversy regarding immunizations for children has taken on new life with the advent of increasing access to information. While informed discourse and debate is a sign of a healthy and vibrant society, it is often difficult to separate fact from fiction when it comes to vaccines; and autism is merely the latest in a long line of now discredited attributions to vaccination.
It should be made clear that we who work at Hanover Pediatrics feel strongly that vaccination represents one of the cornerstones of pediatric practice and is incredibly important to a healthy and safe population. While a single individual not receiving a vaccine poses little risk to the community at-large; the more people who choose not to immunize increases the risk of communicable diseases, for immunized and unimmunized persons alike. Additionally, the concepts that underpin vaccination also inform our basic understanding of the nature of disease—rejecting the validity of one or questioning its safety necessarily calls into question the validity and safety of other aspects of pediatric care, such as routine assessments of growth measurements, developmental milestones, and the diagnosis and treatment of multiple simple and complex disease states.
It is therefore our emphatic and unequivocal position that infants, children, adolescents and adults alike should adhere to the CDC and AAP recommendations regarding immunization. Following these guidelines, based on expert opinion, is a large part of individual and community-wide protection against a wide assortment of illnesses.
Those comments notwithstanding, it is not the position of Hanover Pediatrics that we dictate medical care. We will have open, frank, and congenial conversations about what concerns you have and attempt to address these as they come up. We do not have recommendations about alternative vaccine schedules, as there is little to no evidence regarding their efficacy; but, if you are unwilling to adhere to the recommended schedule, we will work with you to find an alternative that provides some measure of protection.
These conversations should occur without rancor or condescension. It has been our experience that there are all manner of concerns regarding immunization that require a thoughtful process to determine if and when they are of merit. Sometimes, families come with preconceived notions about the risks of vaccination that do not allow for an alternative view; many others simply are concerned about different information that may have been relayed through friends, relatives, in books or through other media. It is not our position to remain unwilling to consider new information or special circumstances—unyielding positions or lines in the sand do not foster healthy relationships over time.
We pledge the following: we will make the most evidence-based practice available to you regarding vaccination, we will listen and converse respectfully to your concerns, and we will work with you to ensure the best health for your child.