Doctors need to ensure kids get scheduled vaccines

Vaccine syringe
Doctors should take measures to ensure kids stick to vaccine schedule.

Researchers say doctors need to do a better job to encourage parents to ensure that kids, including adolescents, get their scheduled vaccines.

In two articles published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers looked at vaccine protocols and the need to stick to a vaccine schedule. They suggested practical approaches to improve vaccination rates, including the use of electronic health records to remind doctors when a child is due for a vaccine. They also urged doctors to be clear about the diseases each immunization can prevent.

The articles come at a time when doctors are finding some parents are resisting vaccinations for their children. However, most Americans overwhelmingly support requiring public school children to be vaccinated for three common childhood diseases—measles, mumps and rubella—in order to protect public health, according to a Pew Research Center survey. They see high preventive health benefits of such vaccines and low risk of side effects, the survey found.

“Yet, public concerns about childhood vaccines linger in the public discourse, often linked to a now discredited and retracted research study published nearly two decades ago that raised questions about a possible link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism,” the center said.

Vaccine safety has been in the news since President Donald Trump raised questions about the safety of childhood vaccines during his campaign and when he met with vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in January. A Trump spokeswoman said he was considering creating a commission on autism.

More than 350 organizations, including medical associations, yesterday sent a letter (PDF) to Trump expressing their support for the safety of vaccines. The effort was organized by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

States are also taking action. In Kansas, a new bill would require physicians to report vaccinations to an online database to help track patient history and provide schools with an accurate picture of vaccinations across the state, according to the Salina Journal.

Radiologist Saurabh Jha, M.D., also looked at how the anti-vaccine movement got started in a commentary on MedPageToday.