GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It may be getting more difficult for parents who don’t want to vaccinate their children to find doctors to care for their kids.
As the vaccination debate continues, some pediatricians are not accepting patients who have not been vaccinated.
“When I was first in practice there were very few people who would not vaccinate, I think we were close enough to the people who remembered diseases and welcomed the opportunity to have their kids be spared from those things,” said Dr. Ronald Hofman, a pediatrician at Alger Pediatrics in Grand Rapids.
Doctor Hofman said the further away we have gotten from the generation of people who remember things like polio, more people have been enchanted by the idea of not vaccinating their kids.
“From my perspective the most important thing a pediatrician does is vaccinate,” Hofman said.
Years ago, Dr. Hofman instituted a policy, echoed by the other doctors at the practice, that if your child isn’t vaccinated and you will not get the vaccinations recommended by the CDC and American Center for Pediatrics he won’t take you on as a patient.
“You’re asking me to care for your child and you’re taking the most important tool I have. That’s like cutting off Tom Brady’s right arm and he’s supposed to win a Super Bowl. So I tell folks who have that you are taking my most important tool. I can give you all types of advice about behavioral management about how to feed your child and how to do good nutrition what developmental things to look for. But the most important thing is staying on the planet and saving your child from disease that maim and kill people.”
Dr. Hofman said from his point of view trying to work with families who don’t want to get their kids vaccinated can create a contentious relationship given the difference of opinion.
“I certainly respect the other side of folks that would say pediatricians should be obligated to treat those families, knowing my own personality I would find it way to frustrating it would not be good for me to continue to dance in that arena.”