Despite risk, many providers yield to parental vaccine delay requests

While most providers believe that veering from the recommended vaccine schedule is risky, they often agree to parents' wishes.

Despite health risk, many providers yield to parental vaccine delay requests
Despite health risk, many providers yield to parental vaccine delay requests

HealthDay News — Health care providers commonly get requests from parents to delay young children's vaccinations — and often give in, according to the results of a study published in Pediatrics.

“Virtually all providers encounter requests to spread out vaccines in a typical month and, despite concerns, most are agreeing to do so,” noted Allison Kempe, MD, MPH, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora, and colleagues.

To assess the frequency of requests to spread out recommended vaccination schedules for children aged less than two years and clinicians' attitudes regarding such requests, the investigators conducted an email and mail survey of a nationally representative sample of pediatric health care providers from June 2012 through October 2012.

One-fifth of surveyed providers said that at least 10% of parents they see want to postpone some vaccinations. Of the 534 health care providers surveyed, 87% said they believe that parents who request delays are putting their children's health at risk. Another 84% said that spreading out youngsters' shots causes needless additional pain.

Despite that, most clinicians yielded to parents' wishes, reported the researchers. One-third often or always agreed to spread out vaccinations, while another third said they did so sometimes.

“Providers are using many strategies in response but think few are effective,” concluded the investigators.

“Evidence-based interventions to increase timely immunization are needed to guide primary care and public health practice.”

References

  1. Kempe A et al. Pediatrics. 2015; doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-3474
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