(CNN)Vaccinating, like all parenting decisions, is one that is made from a place of love and caring. A parent who chooses to vaccinate has their child’s best interest at heart, as does a parent who chooses not to vaccinate.
Not only is this unproductive and divisive, it simply isn’t the right way for families to make decisions for the health of their children.
But some families weren’t as enthusiastic, and this is actually very common. In a survey of primary care pediatricians published in 2016, 93% reported being asked by parents to delay vaccines at least once in the previous month.
At the end of this spectrum are the families who refuse to vaccinate altogether. Here is my personal experience with two of these families, both of whom chose to vaccinate after years of pleas from their other doctors. In the end, I believe that they made that decision because of our personal relationship. I was their pediatrician, and they trusted me.
We found common ground
We — the parents and their pediatrician — all cared about the well-being of the child in front of us. The parents knew that I cared because I had offered my guidance on many issues before vaccines ever came up. They knew because when blood tests came back after office hours, I called them personally. When they came in for sick visits, I followed up days later, just to check in. When issues at school came up, we wrote letters to the principal together. And most important, they knew I cared because I made it very clear: “I am here to help, and I am on your side,” plain and simple. With this understanding, we were able to move forward together when the topic of vaccines came up.
I didn’t judge them or call them names
We heard each other out
- No, vaccines do not cause autism.
- Yes, the diseases they protect children against can be deadly.
- You’ve never seen these diseases because vaccines work.
- Vaccinating protects both your child and the children around them, including those who are too young or who, for medical reasons, can’t be vaccinated.
I gave small amounts of information at a time. And on and on we went — for over a year and a half for one family and almost three years for the other. Between the other doctors and nurses, we left each other notes detailing how far we were able to take the conversation so that next time, we could pick it up where another left off.
We agreed to disagree, initially
Reproduced by : CNN
Date: 9 February 2019