Poll: 4 in 10 parents say they'd get new pediatrician if they treat unvaccinated kids

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By: CBS News
August 19, 2019

Should pediatricians accept unvaccinated children as patients? A new poll suggests many doctors could lose many of their vaccinated patients if they do.

10-year-old Miley is getting the vaccine for HPV, to protect against the human papillomavirus. Her mom Kelli Howard makes sure all her children get their shots on schedule.

Kelli says, "From day one, I never thought anything otherwise. They were gonna be vaccinated, and that was that."

Children who see pediatrician Dr. Charles Goodman must get the required vaccines that protect against diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella, and whooping cough.

Dr. Goodman says, "Healthy children who can receive vaccines must receive those vaccines, and they must do that on schedule, otherwise we will not have them as our patients."

A new national poll shows four in 10 parents say they are "very" or "somewhat likely" to take their child to a different doctor if the physician sees families who refuse all childhood vaccines. The University of Michigan poll is based on responses from more than 2,000 parents. It also found three in 10 parents say their child's primary care office should ask parents who refuse all vaccines to find another health provider.

Dr. Goodman implemented his policy following the 2015 measles outbreak at Disneyland. After some initial backlash, Dr. Goodman says the new poll results are welcomed news.

"It means to me that parents are getting the message," he says, "parents are now understanding these vaccines are lifesaving."

Kelli says, "Especially with my daughter having an autoimmune disease, now it's even more important that, you know, she's not around people who aren't vaccinated."

She says it's a relief that her family is protected when they come to the doctor's office.

Doctors say parents should ask their child's primary care providers about their policies on unvaccinated children.

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