SUMMER FAMILYCARE POLICY ON CHILDHOOD VACCINES
Science versus Fear
First, Summer FamilyCare recommends and encourages all patients to be vaccinated with the recommended preventive vaccines in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Coalition of Immunization Practice, among other expert groups.
We are aware that local medical systems may have policies of rejecting children as patients if parents choose not to follow the vaccine guidelines. Since we are independent, some parents have the impression that Summer FamilyCare supports the “anti-vaccine” idea, which is absolutely not the case. We support vaccination and the science behind vaccines.
It is unfortunate that a prominent few have used their position to spread fear and doubt regarding vaccination. For example, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a British former physician, published the first paper suggesting a link between the combination MMR vaccine and risk of developmental disorders. It was found later that he fabricated his data and he was being paid by malpractice lawyers in Great Britain to create supporting evidence for potential lucrative lawsuits. (Did you know that?) This paper was retracted, and his medical license was revoked, but the damage was done. Even more unfortunate, he is still being paid well here in the United States to speak about this same subject with no new scientific evidence. And there are the multiple celebrities who are self-proclaimed experts on the dangers of vaccines who use their status as a platform to spread the same misinformation and fear.
No scientific finding is absolute. One facet of (good) science is to always question your findings. When someone, whether an actual scientist or just someone with an “opinion” based on their own “research” states that their view is an absolute truth, one should be skeptical. Nothing is 100%. As with any medical treatment, decisions must weigh the risks versus benefits and while some decisions are easy (the risk of complications of a cast are outweighed by the better healing of a fracture) others are more complicated and people, in the end, must be able to rely on expert opinions. Experts are not just people with opinions and a platform, but scientists and practitioners with knowledge and experience.
With all that being said, we do not agree with a policy of rejecting children as patients for their parent’s choices. We understand that shots are unpleasant, and it seems like a lot for little ones. If your child is behind on shots, we will still accept them as a patient. We can also be somewhat flexible with vaccination schedules, if it helps you get your child’s protection completed, as long as they are completed in the end.
If you decide that your child will not be vaccinated we are not sure we can or should see your family here, not due to policy but because of this: If you know that we support and recommend something that you believe is harmful for your child, then you believe that we want to harm your child. In that case, how can we have a trusting doctor-patient relationship concerning anything else?
Drs. Summer and Summer