Vaccine Policy: CHOP Primary Care

  • We firmly believe in both the effectiveness and safety of the currently recommended vaccines for children and adolescents. 
  • We fully support the current vaccine schedule that is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics. These schedules are continually studied and revised by experts in fields of medicine and immunology and public health.
  • We fully believe based on all the current science and research that vaccines do not cause autism or other developmental disabilities. Furthermore, we believe that the thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used in multi-dose vials (currently only the influenza vaccine), does not cause or trigger autism or worsen autism. 
  • We firmly believe that vaccinating children may be the single most important intervention we perform as health care providers.

That being said, we recognize that there has always been controversy surrounding routine vaccination and currently there is an erosion of trust. We are victims of our greatest successes in that we rarely see any of these vaccine-preventable infections. We take for granted that we have very high vaccinations rates. As a result of under-immunizing in pockets both in Europe and the US, we are now seeing outbreaks of both pertussis and measles. Both infections can result in hospitalization and even death. Both infections are completely preventable by vaccinations.

We understand how difficult it is to watch our children receive multiple injections at one time. As pediatric healthcare providers, we are hoping for more combination vaccines as much as you are. However, there is plenty of research to reassure us that giving multiple vaccines at once, though stressful, is not overwhelming to the immune system of any aged child.

We recognize that the decision to vaccinate your child may be emotional for some parents and we will do everything we can to reassure you that vaccinating according to the recommended schedule is in the best interest of your child.

Should you have doubts, please discuss these with your healthcare provider in advance of your visit and we would ask that you view the videos available on the CHOP Vaccine Education Center to further educate yourself.

Please be advised that delaying or splitting up vaccines will just increase the interval during which your child is vulnerable to those infections. We believe that the CDC/AAP-recommended schedule is the safest and most effective for your child. Therefore, we do not endorse or follow any alternative immunization schedules.

We also want you to recognize that when we receive urgent phone calls after hours, we assume that all children have received their routine vaccinations. For example, we would give very different advice on a routine call for a fever or a cough in a child who had not received vaccinations.

When parents choose not to vaccinate, they not only place their child at risk from contracting a preventable disease, but they also place others in the community at risk. Unvaccinated children can serve as carriers, introducing a germ to children too young to be vaccinated, elderly family and friends, or people undergoing treatments for cancer or other serious medical conditions.

At each visit, we will discuss the age-appropriate vaccines with you. We will be happy to address questions and concerns you may have about vaccines. We hope that you will agree that the best medical treatment for your child, the treatment that we have chosen for our own children, is to have your child fully vaccinated.

Please refer to the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia or the Centers for Disease Control for more information on this issue.

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