Doctors Refusing to Treat Unvaccinated Children

A recent survey has found that doctors are refusing to treat children who have not been vaccinated against common diseases.

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Doctors Office (source: The Travel Magazine)

A recent survey has found that doctors are refusing to treat children who have not been vaccinated against common diseases.

In the survey, which was conducted by The Australian Child Health Poll and surveyed almost 2,000 parents, it was discovered that, of children mostly under the age of six, around 5 per cent were not up-to- date with vaccinations and one in six was refused care.

While it’s unclear of how many of the unvaccinated children have parents who are against vaccination, the survey did find that one in three parents did have concerns about vaccinations and that one in ten parents believed vaccinations could cause autism—despite there being no link according to medical evidence.

While unvaccinated children have been a concern in the US for a few years now, this is the first time this has been an issue in Australia, according to Royal Children’s Hospital Child Health Poll director, Dr. Anthea Rhodes.

“All children, regardless of their vaccination status, have a right to access healthcare.

While some people may feel they can understand the reasons for doctors and other healthcare providers thinking twice about whether they will treat unvaccinated kids, we have to remember these children are not making that decision for themselves”.

In the survey, it was found that a majority of the children covered—95 per cent—were fully immunized and the majority of Australian parents supporting childhood vaccination. The poll also found that:

  • Three out of four parents believe they should be told how many children are not vaccinated at their child’s school, kindergarten or child care centre; and
  • Three out of four parents support ‘No Jab, No Play’ policies and say unvaccinated children should be refused access to child care or kindergarten.

RHC Director, Dr. Rhodes, further commented that,

“If we have a situation where people are being refused care they will seek out certain healthcare providers who support their decisions around not vaccinating there kids, and that presents a real risk of creating a subgroup in the population where we are not educating families and helping them to understand why vaccination is important”.

While it might be understood, as Dr. Rhodes said, why doctors are refusing care to unvaccinated children and taking other vaccinated patients into consideration, young and old, it does beg the question of whether or not this falls under their duty of care to treat patients indiscriminately, with there certainly being an argument for it.

Other statistics discovered by the survey include

One in three parents still hold concerns about vaccinations;

– 74 per cent of parents believe they should be told how many children are not up-to- date with vaccines at schools or childcare centers;
– Seven out of 10 parents say knowing the number of under-vaccinated children would influence their decision over child care, schools;
– Parents are confused about whether to delay vaccines when a child has a minor illness;
– One in 10 Australian parents believe that vaccines can cause autism, and a another 30 per cent are unsure;
– 69% of parents full vaccinate their children with no concerns;
– 20% with minor concerns;
– 4% with major concerns;
– 6% adopt a selective vaccination schedule; and
– 1% refuse all vaccines

The survey also asked parents about reasons why they are not up-to- date with child vaccinations and found:

– 24% were because vaccines were delayed due to a fever or minor illness;
– 18% preferred their child not to have recommended vaccines;
– 12% were unable to fully vaccinate due to a medical exemption;
– 12% were on a “catch-up” program because they were born overseas;
– 11% found difficulty in attending scheduled vaccines with their child;
– 11% were unsure about vaccines and had unanswered questions;
– 3% have not had time to get their child vaccinated; and
– 9% listed “other” for their reason.

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Rowena Nagy is a graduate of The University of Tasmania and has over three years of experience as a writer and journalist and brings that knowledge and skill to all tasks she approaches. She has also worked in radio, co-hosting and co-producing a news and current affairs program during her Bachelor of Arts Degree and received a second-class lower division score for her Honours thesis on celebrity, media, and privacy. Rowena aims to gain experience in all areas of media and has high career aspirations.