An open letter to the medical profession

This short article on “vaccine hesitancy” was submitted to the Vaccine Safety Quarterly (VSQ) Newsletter on 5/31/2020.

By the time my daughter entered kindergarten, she was fully vaccinated except for the Hepatitis B vaccine.  I have also “refused” the HPV vaccine as inappropriate and unnecessary for my daughter and my sons.  Today, I would probably be labeled as “vaccine hesitant.”  

However, is it really useful to label parents who do not conform to the CDC recommended schedule as “hesitant”?  I don’t feel hesitant.  I’m actually quite certain that I don’t want my children to receive those two vaccines. 

So long as doctors treat every vaccine as equally important, you are going to continue to lose the trust of more parents.  Why so?  Because it’s simply not true.  I challenge you to make the case that every CDC recommended vaccine is equally important.  

Most people still want most vaccines, but this preference exists in a context of 41% of the public distrusting government healthcare advice (per The Wellcome Trust).  Doctors need to be courageous and show that they can think for themselves by deviating from the CDC on a case-by-case basis (i.e., individualized healthcare for each child).

Why is this such a scary thing to do for the medical profession?  

Christopher Downey, MSc


Your concerns are familiar and we probably will not use your letter per se. Have you consulted the CDC website?  it has a lot of information. 

The JAmMed Asso often has articles on the best practice for this or that with extensive explanations. There are also patient pages. Have you ever discussed with a physician why he thinks he should do  a certain thing?