Persistent fears about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, and whether immunization programs are still needed, have led a significant minority of parents to refuse vaccination. Are parents within their rights when refusing to consent to vaccination? How ought physicians respond? Focusing on routine childhood immunization, we consider the ethical, legal, and clinical issues raised by 3 aspects of parental vaccine refusal: (1) physician counseling; (2) parental decision-making; and (3) continuing the physician-patient relationship despite disagreement. We also suggest initiatives that could increase confidence in immunization programs.
- Accepted March 30, 2011.
- Copyright © 2011 by the American Academy of Pediatrics