Pointing to a strong scientific record supporting vaccinations, Goldstein said his practice's policy serves the most vulnerable children -- like infants and those with critical illnesses who are not able to be immunized -- by protecting them from diseases. All of those children could be in the waiting room together, some pediatricians note, and the unvaccinated ones could be putting the more vulnerable ones at risk.
"Vaccines are safe and have been studied for a long time and continue to be studied," Dr. Goldstein told Shine. "Vaccines are responsible for saving millions of lives and keeping millions of other children safe and healthy."
This stand might seem harsh but the wording and the strictness varies among pediatricians. One Massachusetts-based practice puts it bluntly in the policy that takes up a full page of their website: "Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children are not a good fit for our practice and will be referred elsewhere."
"I know the AAP has cautioned against these policies. If I was the only doctor around, I certainly wouldn't want to throw these families to the wind. In our case, in a neighborhood and city with many pediatricians and options for families, we are choosing to protect kids' health," Goldstein said. "We are not making them sick. We are not forcing them. We are not neglecting them."