Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - GPS -

THE Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Pe­di­atrics is en­cour­ag­ing pe­di­a­tri­cians to tell fam­i­lies who refuse to vac­ci­nate chil­dren, to take their busi­ness else­where.

“Par­ents, pe­di­a­tri­cians and pol­icy-mak­ers all have a role in pro­tect­ing chil­dren from dis­eases such as measles and whooping cough,” said Be­nard Dreyer, pres­i­dent of the acad­emy, which is tak­ing a stronger po­si­tion on this is­sue than ever be­fore.

“No child should have to suf­fer through a disease that could have been pre­vented by a vac­cine.”

In an ef­fort to ad­dress the anti-vac­cine trend, the acad­emy is­sued a new pol­icy state­ment this week op­pos­ing all non­med­i­cal ex­emp­tions for vac­cines. If, af­ter coun­selling, skep­ti­cal par­ents still choose to opt out, doc­tors may re­quest “that they seek care else­where.”

Anx­i­ety about im­mu­niza­tions has in­creased in re­cent years. Of about 630 pe­di­a­tri­cians polled in a 2013 sur­vey, 87 per cent had en­coun­tered vac­cine re­fusal, up from 75 per cent in 2006. Top con­cerns in­clude: the child’s pain, too many in­jec­tions at a sin­gle visit — caus­ing some par­ents to de­lay rather than refuse vac­cines — and a fear of autism. Many have a mis­trust of health-care pro­fes­sion­als.

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