The healthcare providers at the Pediatric Group support and recommend the vaccination of all children and young adults. Vaccines have saved more lives in the past century than any other medical intervention. Our healthcare providers follow and support the vaccine schedule published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The recommended vaccines and their schedule are the result of many years of scientific study and data gathering from the billions of children who have been immunized.
The success of vaccines has led to some complacency about vaccinating. We recognize that the choice to vaccinate may be complex but failing to vaccinate can lead to tragic results. It is precisely because vaccines are so effective at preventing illness that causes the questioning of whether or not they are necessary. The truth is, as a result of vaccines, most people and pediatric practitioners who have resided and/or been trained in the United States have never seen a child with polio, tetanus, whooping cough, bacterial meningitis or even chickenpox.
Often the timing of vaccines has been questioned, to answer this we rely on the studies that show delaying or “breaking up the vaccines” to give fewer at each visit goes against expert recommendations and in some cases reduces the benefit of the vaccine. Deviating from the recommended schedule is not supported by the AAP, CDC, or Insurance Companies, who more recently are requiring healthcare providers employ rigorous efforts to adhere to the AAP, CDC schedules. For these reasons, it is our expectation that all of our patients be up to date with their infant/toddler vaccines by two years of age. All patients should have their recommended childhood vaccinations by six years of age. Furthermore, all adolescent and young adult vaccinations should be administered in accordance with the current CDC and AAP schedule recommendations.
Immunizations are crucial to preventing disease within our community. Vaccines benefit both those who receive them and the vulnerable, unvaccinated children and adults around them. We have many patients who are too young to be vaccinated and are at risk for contracting a vaccine preventable disease from an unvaccinated individual. While you may choose to assume risk that you or your child might contract a vaccine-preventable illness, we cannot assume that risk for our vulnerable patients or community. Adhering to the vaccination schedules recommend by the AAP and CDC is the right thing to do!
The Pediatric Group welcomes new patients; However, if despite our recommendations, you feel you cannot follow the AAP and CDC vaccine schedule for your child, we will ask that you work with your insurance carrier or the Maryland Department of Health to identify a health care provider who shares your views. Our health care providers will continue to care for and educate our existing patients in an effort to render them compliant with the AAP and CDC schedule; However, we will only do so if a Vaccine Refusal Form is executed. Patients who decline signing the Vaccine Refusal Form will be asked to work with their insurance carrier or the Maryland Department of health to identify another provider who shares their views. Our health care providers are available to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about vaccines. As always, we look forward to providing the best care for our patients, their families, and the community.
The Pediatric Group
Maryland State Requirements and CDC Recommendation:
- State of Maryland's Vaccine Requirements for Preschool and School-Aged Children
- CDC Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization
Reference: American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Infectious Diseases, Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule