Vaccines and Doctors

Updated on July 13, 2011
K.W. asks from Seattle, WA
15 answers

Have you asked questions about vaccines or the vaccination schedule? How did the doctor respond? I'm not particularly concerned with what decisions you ended up making. I've just had a lot of friends who have gotten very hostile reactions when they asked questions. I'm wondering how common this is. So, I'm taking an incredibly un-scientific poll on this question:

How did your doctor treat you when you asked questions about vaccines?

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answers from Seattle on

All of my doctors have been fine, they let me know they support immunization but that ultimately the decision is mine for my family!

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answers from San Francisco on

Hi I have spoken with 5 doctors regarding vaccines as I chose not to vaccinate either of my children, 4 were hostile, disapproving, and one even lectured me , one doctor was very helpful and suggested an appt with the immunization dept at the childrens hospital where I met with an expert on vaccinations who was very knowledgable in trying to convince me if the benefits but had no evidence regarding any side effects or true safety which is why I chose against it towers the end when she couldn't answer my questions regarding safety she started to get hostile and kept repeating stories of children dying from whooping cough and bringing out the scare tactics.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I asked my pediatrician how much of his day he had to spend refuting the fears the media and internet foster about vaccination. His answer - a ridiculous amount. People come in armed with stacks of print outs from completely unscientific websites and expect their doctor to spend 30 minutes discussing non information rather than covering all the real issues they are supposed to cover in the appointment time. Not what I was wasting my time on.

Now, I did ask what the evidence was that ear infections are bacterial when my son had one. My pediatrician was very honest that the jury was out on that (there was a large study ongoing at the time) and that it was completely up to us whether to simply use analgesics or to use an antibiotic as well. We elected to go with just the tylenol.

There is also no documented benefit to delaying vaccination (except for the opportunity for the child to acquire the 'natural' form of the disease because he is not yet protected against it).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Yes I ask questions about the vaccines and asked for an altered vaccination schedule because I did not want my daughter getting more then 2-3 shots at a time. I also ask to see the vaccine when it comes in to make sure it is the right one.

My daughter's doctor was really nice and pulled out a few different sheets on different vaccination schedules that she would recommend. I was a littl surprised but felt that I was heard and that they took my concerns and ideas with great care.

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answers from Norfolk on

When we interviewed pediatricians a dr. in the practice we go to gave a long lecture to all the parents in the room about vaccines, the importance and the newest information regarding their safety. She went on and on and at the end asked if we had questions. Every single parent in the room said they planned to vaccinate. LOL all that ranting was a waste of time! I think doctors get a little nuts about it. We vaccinate but I think every parent deserves to have their questions answered in a calm way without the doctor flipping out because s/he disagrees with the parent. You're looking for information, no need for the dr to go crazy! :) (But I believe that to be true about any question a parent has.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Perfectly fine. They handed me a printed schedule put out by the state that had every vaccine and at what age they should have it. We were on schedule all the time because of these. Plus the docs always told us when we needed to set up the next well child check up. That's usually the time they need the next set of shots.

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answers from Seattle on

Both our family doctor and the pediatricians practice (several doctors) we went to for a while were open to questions and alternative vaccination schedules. We have forgone one vaccine completely and spaced out others and it has never been an issue.
They were all very open and receptive to our viewpoints and even when they disagreed, did so in a respectful manner, never trying to push anything on us.
But I have to say, any doctor who would give me a disrespectful attitude for any reason would have seen me for the last time anyways...
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

When we were pregnant with my second (husband's first) we met with my son's ped. I have always appreciated the doctor, but wanted to make sure Tom was comfortable with him, too. Our major concern was whether or not he'd be supportive of our decision to selectively vaccinate. (My son had everything through age 10.) We were pleasantly surprised that the doctor agreed with us about delaying certain vaccinations, and talked rationally with us about adding ones we hadn't intended to allow. In the end, we took his recommendations.
We've recently switched insurances and, therefore, pediatricians. We chose a ped our friends have used, knowing he was okay with their modified schedule. When I met him last week, he asked about it (I'd forgotten the shot record) and I explained which we'd done. No hassle at all, but we were there for a more pressing health concern. We take our younger daughter there on Monday for a vaccination, so I'll be interested to see if he wants to discuss it further. But so far, everything has been calm and rational... whether we agree or not (my OB and I did not, lol).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think most doctors encourage the traditional schedule but are open when you say no. When we first me with our ped, he was pretty dismissive about the risks of vaccines since he said that back in the day, there was much more "junk" in vaccines. So we started vaccinating on the traditional schedule with the exeption of MMR at 1. At around 18 months my son got his last vaccine since around 20 months I became concerned about his speech and suspended any possible culprits. When offered vaccines we decline, end of story. He does not try to convince us but did mention there would be an issue with school (which there was not) When we saw an neurodevelopmental pediatrician (thank goodness my son is fine) I asked about vaccines and she said that there is no harm in delaying them and supports parents in doing so as long as they eventually get them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I asked a lot of questions at a meet and greet session with the doctor before I even chose her. They were very happy to answer all my questions will all the information, both scientifically and personally. They ended the conversation with, it's your child your choice, although they support vaccination. They are willing to work on a modified schedule as well. While I did chose to vaccinate, I was comforted by their response and how it wasn't pushy at all. When my daughter got sick right before a vaccine, they mentioned modifying the schedule before I had a chance. Everytime she is due for a shot, they tell me they can do it now, or wait.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Yakima on

I asked for an alternate vaccine schedule, less vaccines at one time. Which means more office visits but made me feel better, not wanting to give my 2 month old 4 shots at one time, or even my 4 year old. My pediatrician was fine with it. However, it was the nurse who gave me guff about it with my then 4 year old and again when I took her back at 5 years old. The way I see it, I am a supporter of vaccines, and the Dr. or nurse should not make you feel bad about a decision you make for your children, as long as it is not dangerous to them. And I have not heard anything about spreading out the vaccines as being dangerous, as long as you get them vaccinated within the time period.

Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 16 and we went with all the traditional vaccines and schedules.

However, I have had to stand my ground on the Guardasil vaccine because WE choose not to have that one. Our pedi understands and does not push us, she just said we have time to consider and get the vaccine if we choose to at a later date...... NOT

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I did and our doctor was very open to discussing it. She's laid back in general. She'll tell you when you really should take a course of action or when she's not concerned. She'll tell you what she thinks about the latest concern based on her experiences and knowledge (you know how you read articles and then worry). She's a great doctor. If a doctor is not willing to talk to me about basic health care needs/concerns, then I find a new one. He/she doesn't have to coddle me, just treat me as more than a mannequin. (I have had a lot less luck finding a PCP for myself that I love). I didn't bend her ear for half an hour, but I did get my questions answered. We can also email our doctors to ask questions, so she answered some of my questions via email and saved us both a trip to the office.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on


Not sure if my link will get pulled but this is an article about the Dr in Denver who won't take patients who are not current on their vaccinations.

I have had conversations with each of my daughter's doctors about vaccinations and they have always been willing to have a conversation with me about the pros and cons - but I have always vaccinated my daughter with everything but the flu shot, so I've never encountered an instance where I refused (except flu - and no one has ever been hostile to me about refusing the flu shot for my daughter).

However - I asked a TON of questions about the paraguard vaccine last visit (my daughter is 10) and her Dr was completely willing to have a conversation about the pros and cons of the vaccine - not hostile at all.

I can imagine that the way you present your questions to the Dr might have something to do with their response. I know just in general the more you are aggressive with anyone the more aggressive they are back with you. So if a parent goes in to their Dr who is a traditional Dr (rather than an OD or holistic/alternative medicine) looking for a fight about vaccines they'll most likely get one. But that's just my $0.02



answers from Chicago on

My doctors will not see patients that do not vaccinate or want a split schedule.

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