Doctors Have the Right to Ban Non-Vax Kids From Their Offices

baby shotIn light of the recent highly contagious measles outbreak, a prominent pediatrician wrote a piece for Slate about whether or not children's doctor's offices should treat unvaccinated children. The doctor writes that he profoundly believes in "caring for all people who need [him]," but says at the same time, he "profoundly believes in the importance of vaccines."

"Personally, I draw the line at vaccines protecting against diseases that kids might catch from exposures in my office," Dr. Sydney Spiesel writes. "If parents want to withhold protection from hepatitis B or cervical and oral cancer, I think it’s not so smart, but I’ll still care for their children because not even the friskiest teen is likely to transmit these diseases in my office. Measles? Whopping cough? These are another matter. My sense of responsibility to the health of the vast majority of kids coming to see me says 'no.'"

When I first read the piece, I, a parent who chooses to vaccinate, thought the idea of having separate "vaccinated" and "non-vaccinated" pediatric offices was insane, close-minded, and antiquated. Who are doctors to tell parents how to raise their children? But then I thought: What if I had a 2-week-old infant, measles was going around, and I had a chance to go to either an office that only accepts vaccinated children or one that doesn't? I would certainly, for my newborn's safety, choose the former.

Although it seems ridiculous when written out, and uncomfortably segregated-seeming, it makes sense. Not only is it looking out for the overall health of the masses, particularly during an outbreak, it's the doctor's decision. He or she should do what they think is best for their patients, and if he thinks separating children is right, so be it. I don't blindly follow whatever my doctor tells me, but that is something I'm comfortable with.

Like Spiesel says, though, it isn't a completely black and white situation. Allowing babies and toddlers who haven't had their hep B shots into a "vax" office isn't so much the issue. I, personally, wouldn't be alarmed if my daughter were around someone her age without those shots (and she didn't get the hep B vax when she was still in the hospital). But on the other hand, I would be a little freaked out if she were to be around someone without a measles shot right now. So, I guess I would feel more comfortable if our pediatrician had rules as to who she will and won't treat in her office. I feel a little bad saying it, but it's the truth.

Do you think doctors should treat children who haven't been vaccinated for highly contagious diseases? Would you feel comfortable having your child around such children?


Image via IAN HOOTON/Science Photo Library/Corbis



To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

nonmember avatar Kali

I have long wondered about a similar issues with daycare facilities. I didn't think about it at the time, but now, I think about what if my infant would be at a daycare with an older un-vaccinated child who could have the measles or other disease that could be life-threatening to my baby. I generally have a live and let live attitude, but if the choices you make are detrimental to the basic well being of others, then I just can't take that position.

I agree with the doc and it would sway my decisions around peds.

nonmember avatar Blush

This is a question I would ask when screening Pediatricians. I would not take my child to a doctor who treats kids who's parents choose not to vaccinate. I also prefer them to have sick and well waiting rooms.

AliPa... AliParker

I agree it isn't as simple as it sounds but I think it's a great idea. I don't understand not vaccinating your children.

jayha... jayhawk00

My son's doctor's office is no longer accepting nonvaccinated children. I support it. Makes me love them even more.

curly... curlycues

Seriously though, think about this. Are you going to go as far as having potential childhood friend's parents fill out forms making sure they believe in everything you do or conversely don't? I mean, thats slightly outrageous. Question 1, do you now and have you ever believed in God? Question2, do you have a membership in the NRA? 3, do you vaccinate your children? 4, do you let your kids watch more than 3 hours of tv a week? Do you feed your children natural, organic, non gmo food? Seriously, I realise this is outrageous. But everything on this list people have strong feelings about and think that their particular belief is best and the other can hurt kids. Where is the line drawn? Besides if your kindergartener has the measles shot as the New Yorkers say, " forget about it!" They wont catch it anyway. Really, we all need to chill.

peanu... peanutsmommy1

My ds is selectively vaccinated since 4 (he is 8) and although his ped still sees unvaccinated children, it is also within his rights to chose not to and we would simply find a new practice.

Angie... AngieHayes

Thats so nice, you would want doctors turning children away and providing them with help during sick times, just because you are so afraid that your vaccinated child may catch something from the unvaccinated child. Real smart.

Kattey Kattey

Well, curly, apples and oranges. I want to address 2 things about your post that  are stupid. First off, if your kid is going to someone else's home, a quick "Is anyone sick?" makes sense, and you can keep a kid home if the answer is yes. At a dr's office, not so much. it's almost garanteed that there will be at least one ill child, and with more morons not vaxxing, maybe even contagous children. NOT EVERY CHILD CAN BE VAXXED. I really hate when idiots like yourself foget that  babies aren still working on being fully vaxxed, and some children cannot be vaxxed for actual medical reasons. These are issues that drs are concerned about.

Second, not all your questions are idiotic. While some sactimommies might care about snowlfakes eating organic at someone else's home, I would hope that any parent with common sense would want to know that any guns that may be in the house are properly secured, or if their child is immunocomprimised they should know if the other child is vaxxed or not be cause these are time when the parent actually has control.

Those two issues are more than personal preference, they could mean the difference between life and death.

nonmember avatar karen

If your child is vaccinated what's the big deal

tbruc... tbrucemom

curlycues-your comment is not pertinent. The answers to those other questions do not present a public health danger. I would definitely ask the parents of children my children would be around if they're vaccinated and not let them play with them if they weren't.  Whopping cough, measles, etc. can be LIFE THREATENING diseases!

1-10 of 47 comments 12345 Last