With the presidential election in full swing, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been in the spotlight. Recently, he created quite a stir in the New Jersey community with his comments that parents “should have some measure of choice” in the vaccination schedule of their children and, specifically, whether or not their children should get vaccinated at all. In response, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a series of sweeping statements, very recently releasing a statement that wholeheartedly supports physician practices “firing” parents from their practice, refusing to allow the children of these parents to be patients at their clinic without agreeing to vaccine their kids.
One practice in East Brunswick had a physician that stated that she’s “glad the Academy has taken a stand in support of Pediatricians who do not accept these patients.” She went on to describe the sentiments that many physicians feel. There are many children in every practice who cannot receive vaccines for medical reasons. Sometimes these patients do not have immune systems that can handle the vaccine or are perhaps allergic to some of the ingredients. Ultimately, these patients depend on everyone else to have their vaccines up to date to protect them from these dangerous yet preventable diseases.
For example, there was recently a Measles outbreak in Disneyland, CA. Measles is an entirely preventable disease if up to date on the vaccine. There are major risks to getting Measles, such as the development of brain damage called Encephalitis. If children are properly vaccinated, this is a major risk that can be avoided.
While Governor Chris Christie thrust New Jersey parenting into the spotlight with his comment on vaccine choice, ultimately the American Academy of Pediatrics disagreed with his stance. While there are certain issues that parents absolutely have autonomy over with regards to the healthcare of their children, vaccines should be a non-issue. Parents in New Jersey should absolutely agree to have their children vaccinated. One of the miracles of modern science, dangerous diseases such as Measles and Polio are completely preventable with vaccines. Vaccines even wiped Smallpox off the face of the Earth. With such a powerful weapon against debilitating illnesses, it would be irresponsible not to vaccinate their children. These practices are simply acting in the best interest of their patients by enforcing common sense on vaccination.