KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some parents are searching for new pediatricians after their current doctors told them they can't remain patients if they refuse certain vaccinations.
“It started because we`re seeing an insurgence of families refusing vaccines,” said Dr. Raymond Cattaneo, who says his office have a strict immunization policy at Priority Care Pediatrics.
“When we had those discussions, which lasted six to 12 months, it was not an easy decision, we decided that all recommended vaccines by the CDC would be on that schedule, and that includes HPV,” Dr. Cattaneo added.
Some patients are now searching for new doctors. One parent posted a request for new doctors on social media after refusing to have her children receive the HPV vaccine.
“We would not be doing our job if we did not protect an 11 or 12 or 13-year-old girl or boy from a potential life-threatening disease when they`re 30, 40, or 50 years old. A safe vaccine, an effective vaccine, a vaccine that unfortunately has been overtaken by controversy that is not real,” Dr. Cattaneo said.
The parent who posted online wanted to remain anonymous, but says she absolutely loves her doctors, but is concerned about the shot. Therefore, she must find a new doctor's office for her kids.
“In the end, they are choosing, we are not forcing any vaccines, but when they choose not to vaccinate, that means they are choosing not to stay a patient at our office,” said Dr. Cattaneo.
The health department has people lined up for shots to be in compliance for school. One public health nurse says education is key when it comes to vaccines
“These vaccines were made to prevent, and these diseases are real, you can look it up to find out information, you can research it, these are real diseases, and so the way we have seen a decline, and you don`t see them as much as you used to in the past, is because we`re vaccinating,” said Lateak Harbin, a Public Health Nurse with the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department.
Dr. Cattaneo says for the most part, the response to their persistence has been positive.
“Rather than a rash of patients leaving, we`ve seen a rash of parents and families who will say, I`m still a little nervous about this vaccine, but I trust you, and because you have this policy, I am going to immunize my child,” Dr. Cattaneo said. “Any pediatrician who lets a child walk out of their office without this vaccine, is putting that child in danger.”
Dr. Cattaneo says the HPV vaccine has been used in Australia consistently since 2007, and within two years of instituting the program, they saw a 50 percent drop in Human Papilloma Virus rates in girls, and about 39 percent drop in HPV rates in boys.
He says certain vaccines like HPV are often misunderstood, and if they can help with a little education -- it will go a long way.