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AAP Revision on Dismissing Vaccine-Refusing Families

JAMA Pediatr; ePub 2018 Apr 30; Deem, et al

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently issued a report that said it was acceptable for clinicians to dismiss families that refuse to accept vaccination. A new paper sheds light on how this statement might be interpreted.

  • In a previous statement, AAP had encouraged clinicians to “endeavor not to discharge” patients whose only objectionable decision was to refuse vaccination.
  • The authors point out that the revised policy may be interpreted by some pediatric practitioners as a recommendation that they dismiss these families.
  • Deem, et al, believe however, that the new policy only allows for tolerance of different points of view on the issue, rather than providing a recommendation to dismiss.
  • Consistent with that interpretation, the AAP resolution that led to the new policy called for the Academy to support pediatricians who continue to care for families who refuse to vaccinate their children.


Deem MJ, Navin MC, Lantos JD. Considering whether the dismissal of vaccine refusing families is fair to other clinicians. [Published online ahead of print April 30, 2018]. JAMA Pediatr. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.0259.