LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling for the elimination of all non-medical exemptions to immunizations in a set of new policies published Monday.
The medical group’s new policies calls on both lawmakers and doctors to take action – on the former, to enact policies that will boost immunization rates, and on the latter, to counsel parents as soon as the first well-baby visit on the need for vaccinations.
“It’s clear that states with more lenient exemptions policies have lower immunization rates, and it’s these states where we have seen disease outbreaks occur as the rates slip below the threshold needed to maintain community immunity,” Geoffrey Simon, one of the authors the American Academy of Pediatrics medical exemptions policy, said in a statement. “Non-medical exemptions to immunizations should be eliminated.”
Southern California has been on the front lines in the battle over vaccinations. A law requiring vaccinations for all California students went into effect on July 1 was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown about six months after an outbreak of measles at Disneyland, sickening 133 people throughout the state.
LAUSD officials said that all its schools had been instructed to stop families at the door at enrollment for the 2016-17 school year to ask for immunization records.
The new guidelines urged pediatricians to address specific concerns of parents who have been found to refuse at least one recommended vaccine for a variety of reasons, including perceived safety risks and the highly controversial belief that vaccines can cause autism.
But if parents still decline immunization after counseling efforts are exhausted, the AAP says pediatricians can request the family seek care from a different health care provider.