Study: MDs often asked for alternative vaccine schedules

A study conducted by Seattle Children's Research Institute found that 77% of pediatricians in Washington state had been asked by parents to adjust their kids' vaccine schedule. Of the 209 physicians surveyed, 61% said they were comfortable making some adjustments to the standard schedule.

Physicians must balance parents' wishes with the safety of the children in their care, explained Seattle Children's Research Institute bioethicist Dr. Doug Opel in a statement. However, there are some vaccines that most physicians won't agree to postpone: diphtheria-tetanus toxoids-acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP), Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine (Hib) and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV). DTaP, Hib and PVC protect kids from some of the most common--and potentially fatal--childhood diseases.

"The study demonstrates the need for more research on the use of alternative immunization schedules and the safety, efficacy and consequences of delaying immunizations," noted Opel. The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics.

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