Doctors in the South and Northeast were more likely to take this hard-line stance, said study lead author Dr. Sean O'Leary, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children's Hospital Colorado in Denver.
heard anecdotally that pediatricians across the nation have come under pressure to refuse to take on unvaccinated children, following the Disneyland measles outbreak earlier this year.
"I'm hearing the practice has become more common, particularly in California, following the outbreak," O'Leary
"Parents say, 'I don't want to take my child to a clinic with nonvaccinators and expose them to risk,' so there is parental pressure on some pediatricians."
An ongoing medical debate continues to simmer over a doctor's right to refuse treatment for children whose parents are against vaccination, O'Leary
There are a number of reasons why pediatricians take this tack, said O'Leary and Dr. H. Dele Davies, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' committee on infectious diseases.
Pediatricians also may feel that they won't be able to establish a relationship with parents if they can't see eye to eye on vaccination, O'Leary
"The pediatrician might feel that the physician/patient relationship may not be a productive one if they're so far apart in terms of a core concept like vaccination," O'Leary
"Pediatricians consider vaccination one of the most important things they do."
Finally, pediatricians sometimes use the threat of dropping a family to persuade parents to agree to vaccination, O'Leary
"It really convinces a lot of parents to go ahead and get their child vaccinated, because it's such a strong message about the importance of vaccination," he
No one knows what happens to families who are dropped for vaccination refusal, which demonstrates the need for further research on this topic, O'Leary
"This practice is pretty common, and we don't know what happens to those families," he