Document 58619

21 Highland Avenue, Suite 100 • Roanoke, VA 24013
Telephone (540) 344.9213 • Facsimile (540) 345.7559
Physician’s to Children Revises Vaccine Policy for Patients
Roanoke VA (September 7, 2011) — For over a half century, Physicians to Children has dedicated themselves to providing
comprehensive, compassionate, and competent care to infants, children, adolescents, young adults and their families in the
Roanoke Valley and surrounding areas. The pediatricians and nurse practitioners at Physicians to Children believe vaccinating
children is THE most important health promoting intervention they perform as health care providers. The campaign to vaccinate
children has been so effective at preventing a variety of diseases that many people have never seen a child with polio, tetanus,
whooping cough, bacterial meningitis or even chickenpox, or known a family member or friend whose child died of one of these
diseases. The success of this campaign has made some in the local communities complacent about vaccinating. This attitude has
resulted in tragic results because there have been community outbreaks of some of these communicable and preventable
diseases and deaths have occurred.
Herd immunity arises when a significant segment of the population provides a measure of protection for members of the
population who have not developed immunity. The greater the number of resistant individuals in a population, the less likely a
susceptible individual will come into contact with an infected one. Herd immunity offers a public health benefit to those
members of the population who are unable to benefit from vaccines, especially children with immune deficiency diseases, cancer,
and transplanted organs. Recent studies found that vaccine refusals appeared to be on the rise which results in a decline in herd
immunity. “We have seen herd immunity in our region decline over time due to the increase in unvaccinated children. For
example, 23 out of 46 students at a Floyd school were infected by whooping cough in March 2011. Fortunately there were
no deaths in the Floyd outbreak; however, a similar outbreak in California in 2010 resulted in ten deaths there,” said Dr. Robert
Gard, a Board certified pediatrician at Physicians to Children.
Over the past several years, because of falsified research related to autism conducted by a former British physician Andrew
Wakefield, and the misinformation that has been spread in the media by celebrities, under-immunization with the MMR (measles,
mumps and rubella) vaccine has occurred. Small outbreaks of measles with associated deaths have resulted in Europe and the
United States over the past several years. As recently as late August 2011, passengers on an Amtrak train were exposed to
measles as it traveled through Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. The providers at Physicians to Children spend countless hours
educating and reassuring parents of the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness and to save lives. The misinformation
that has spread throughout the country has resulted in unnecessary confusion for parents and a reduction of the number of
immunized children.
In response to the growing number of parents delaying vaccination or wanting alternative schedules, Physicians to Children has
decided to implement a revised vaccination policy. “This has been a difficult decision but we have given careful thought to this
matter and believe it is in the best interest of the children we are caring for” stated Dr. Austin Spruill, a Board certified pediatrician who has practiced in Roanoke since 1990 and worked at Physicians to Children since 2000. Physicians to Children is
concerned that by not adhering to the recommended vaccination schedule, a growing number of children are being put at risk
of serious illness. In addition, the providers are concerned that unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children in its waiting rooms
are putting other infants and children at risk.
“We have implemented a new policy within our Practice that if parents are firm in their decision not to vaccinate their children,
we are going to ask them to transfer to another provider who supports their views” says Dr. Spruill. As a group of pediatric
professionals, the providers will not honor requests to break up vaccines, alternate, or delay their administration over time.
Physicians to Children agrees with the vaccination schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and
the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Since the inception of Physicians to Children in 1957, its providers have worked diligently to improve and protect the health of
children in the region. The new vaccine policy is consistent with the values of the Practice and will sustain the standards of excellence that have been in place for 54 years.
Following is the revised Vaccine Policy Statement of Physicians to Children effective today.
21 Highland Avenue, Suite 100 • Roanoke, VA 24013
Telephone (540) 344.9213 • Facsimile (540) 345.7559
Physician’s to Children Vaccine Policy Statement
We firmly believe that vaccinating children and young adults may be the single most important health-promoting intervention
we perform as Pediatricians and that you can perform as parents/caregivers. The recommended vaccines and their schedule
are the results of decades of scientific study and data gathering on millions of children by thousands of bright, caring, and
compassionate scientists and physicians.
We firmly believe in the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness and save lives. We firmly believe in the safety of our
vaccines and their components.
We firmly believe that all children and young adults should receive all of the recommended vaccines according to the schedule
published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
We firmly believe, based on all available literature, evidence and current studies, that vaccines DO NOT cause autism or
developmental disabilities. We firmly believe that the components and preservatives used in vaccines for decades do not cause
developmental, immune, or other medical disabilities.
Over the past several years, many people have chosen not to vaccinate their children due to misguided concerns regarding
autism and potential adverse reactions. As a result of under-immunization, there have been outbreaks nationwide and worldwide
of measles, mumps, and whooping cough. These outbreaks have resulted in unnecessary and preventable deaths.
We recognize that parents have many decisions to make regarding their child’s medical care. We will do everything we can to
protect your child’s health as they grow and develop. A vital part of your child’s health relies upon following the most up to
date vaccine schedule. Should you have any questions about vaccines, please discuss these with your health care provider in
advance of your visit. We do not “break up vaccines” into their components nor do we endorse “alternate” or delayed vaccine
schedules. Delaying vaccines to give one or two at a time goes against expert recommendations and leaves your child and other
children at risk for infection. Furthermore, should you decide to refuse or significantly delay vaccines for your child, this may
result in dismissal from Physicians to Children.
Randell Burton, MD
Mary Ann Cox, MD
Daphne Damen, CRNP
Robert Gard, MD
Camron Johnson, DO
Mark McBride, MD
Kelly Nelson, MD
Waeil Nur, MD
Adam Sarbin, MD
Austin Spruill, MD
(Updated 3/30/13)