Vaccines – Protecting our children, protecting our community
Re-occurrence of preventable childhood illnesses has again made national headlines with measles and whooping cough (pertussis) resurging across the country. This has occurred as a result of under-vaccination – unfortunately deliberately in many situations where parents have elected to delay or not vaccinate their children. As you can see, the ripple effect of this decision is concerning and has far reaching effects for all of us.
We, FCP, want to reinforce our strong support, trust and belief in our current national vaccine program and strongly support the CDC and AAP guidelines for proper and timely vaccination. We further want to emphasize our belief that :1) vaccines are safe , effective and not associated with any documented neuro-developmental consequences and 2) delaying or spreading out vaccines has no justification in current scientific research and simply poses undue risk to children.
We, as health care professionals but also as parents (and grandparents), appreciate the concerns raised in the media about the safety and justification of our vaccines and want to be sensitive and understanding to those concerns. However, empathy cannot surpass the need to protect our children and for us to do what we professionally and personally feel is our mission: to provide comprehensive health care of the highest quality using the best medical and scientific evidence to direct and support us. Proper vaccination of our patients is as important to that mission as anything we do. We want to be reasonable and fair but also clear: delaying recommended vaccines is unsafe and risky. For families that elect to delay recommended vaccines beyond an accepted time, you will be notified and asked to either reconsider or obtain health care elsewhere. We do this as a public health measure – delayed vaccines pose health risks to all of our patients and we need a uniform policy that is fair and safe to all our patients.
Fortunately, for the vast majority of our patients, this policy is not relevant and hopefully reassuring – that we are providing and promoting the best health care individually and for our community.
The state of Maryland and Frederick County specifically are blessed with extremely high vaccine rates, which are a reflection of both their health care and patient population. However, as can be seen elsewhere in this nation, indifference or an ongoing laizzez faire approach to vaccines ultimately puts all of us at risk for illnesses that potentially are serious but completely preventable. Appropriate, preventative care is our goal and mission and we will do our best to serve our patients in that way.