Effective June 1, The Northwestern Children’s Practice will implement a new policy on vaccination. Because all available scientific evidence favors vaccinating according to the schedule set forth by the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics, and because not following this schedule can potentially harm children who do follow the recommended schedule by unnecessarily exposing them to vaccine-preventable diseases, we will no longer see families who choose to not vaccinate their children. We will also no longer follow “Alternative Vaccination Schedules”. Patients who currently use such schedules should discuss with their provider the best way to catch their child up.
As health care providers, it is our responsibility to protect as many children from disease as possible. Vaccines may be one of the greatest advances in medicine in that they have saved countless millions of lives and illnesses. All vaccines have been, and continued to be studied for potential harmful effects, and in most cases vaccines are developed and tested for at least a decade before being used routinely. No current available studies support the idea of vaccines causing harm, and no data supports the use of schedules other than that set forth by the CDC and AAP. Parents who choose not to have their children vaccinated according to guidelines not only put their children at risk of getting sick, but also indirectly put other children at risk. This is why we feel strongly that the best way to protect the health of all children in our practice is to ensure that everyone follows the recommended schedule.
Please feel free to discuss any questions that you have about this policy with your provider.
Booster Dose of Meningitis Vaccine
One of the new vaccine recommendations for 2011 is that a booster dose of the meningitis vaccine be given 5 years after the initial dose. Most children receive the meningitis vaccine at their 11 year check up, so most will need a booster at 16. This means that your teenager may need a vaccine at his or her next well visit. The meningitis vaccine protects against several strains of a bacteria that causes bacterial meningitis, which is often spread in high schools and colleges, and can be potentially fatal.