63 Percent of Israeli Pediatricians Believe Parents Do Not Have The Right To Refuse Vaccination - 37 Percent Believe in Enforcement
Now a study led by researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) demonstrates that nearly all pediatricians in Israel strongly support the vaccination of infants, but the majority do not believe that their role is to force treatment on parents. The study is a desperate attempt by the medical establishment to convince pediatricians to use the art of persuasion to sway opinion on the growing numbers of parents refusing vaccination.
“Our advice is that pediatricians find ways to communicate their views to parents in a respectful way that doesn’t discourage them...” says Dr. Ayala Maayan-Metzgerof TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine. The study was published in September in the journal Acta Paediatrica.
A Clash of Values
Every major medical body in the world -- including Israel’s Ministry of Health, the American Medical Association, and the World Health Organization is now being criticized for recommending a battery of infant vaccinations. Over the past decade, an increasing number of parents have chosen not to comply. Studies have identified various reasons for this trend, including a growing distrust of professional expertise, correlations to autism, vaccine ingredients, lack of effectiveness and the parents’ insistence on their own right to decide on medical care for their children.
Dr. Maayan-Metzger, who also works at the Department of Neonatology at The Edmond and Lili Safra Children’s Hospital at Sheba Medical Center, and Dr. Peri Kedem-Friedrich of Bar-Ilan University’s Psychology Department, set out with other TAU researchers to examine for the first time the issue of infant vaccination from the perspective of the working clinical physician. They hoped to understand pediatricians’ attitudes and treatment intentions toward parents who refuse to vaccinate their infants.
To this end, they distributed an anonymous questionnaire to 376 pediatricians who work in hospitals and primary health care clinics in Israel. The pediatricians completed the questionnaire between May and November of 2010.
Seventy-one percent expressed negative feelings toward parents who refuse to vaccinate their infants. 63 percent believe that parents do not have the right to refuse vaccinations for their children while 37 percent agreed that parents have a right to decide. Another 37 percent agreed that vaccinations should be officially enforced. Two percent said they would object to treating children who had not been vaccinated.
“The findings show how strongly doctors here support the vaccination program and stand behind the Ministry of Health,” says Maayan-Metzger. “It’s not a decision handed down from on high. We feel passionately that it’s the right thing to do.”
A Better Bedside Manner?
The study concludes that pediatricians are torn between two opposing values: vaccinating according to their professional conduct and beliefs, and the parents’ right to determine what is medically best for their children. Despite their strong -- even angry -- feelings, many pediatricians do not feel it is their place to force the vaccinations on the parents and their children, favoring gentle persuasion or official enforcement over coercion, according to the study.
To build trust, the study suggests that pediatricians communicate to parents that they genuinely respect their rights. But the study also acknowledges pediatricians may simply not be equipped to change parents’ minds on such a complex and personal issue.
Communication Will Not Change The Growing Information Trend
The time for communicating to change anti-vaccination sentiment is quickly coming to an end as more parents are informing themselves on this risk of vaccinating, which for many are outweighing any benefits.
Mounting evidence is demonstrating that many vaccines should never be given to children at all. Since most vaccines are never tested for carcinogenic, mutagenic potential, or for impairment of fertility, parents have become very skeptical of their safety. This lack of testing by vaccine manufacturers also indicates that there is no responsible authority that can state to a parent with any certainty, that their son or daughter will not become infertile or experience cancer as a consequence of receiving a vaccine.
Moreover, parents are educating themselves on the emerging generation of unvaccinated children which may be among the healthiest in the world. The refusal of significant numbers of parents to vaccinate their children has created a sizable population numbering in the millions around the world and has raised a number of important public health issues, namely why do we continue to vaccinate at all.
Since national and international governments have been working towards mandatory vaccination protocols for some time, growing numbers are also coming to the realization that stealth vaccine laws may soon allow officials to conduct childhood vaccinations without any parental consent at all, something parents strongly oppose.
As more questions regarding the safety of vaccinations remain unanswered by public health officials, more parents will continue their research with a heavy dose of skepticism towards routine vaccination.
Dave Mihalovic is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in vaccine research, cancer prevention and a natural approach to treatment.