by Janet Levatin, MD
Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center

I recently received an email asking, “Why do doctors (especially pediatricians) push scheduled vaccines so strongly? Why do they fight against parents who refuse? Do they have incentives? What can I share with my family members to open their eyes? What can I do to prove I really am trying to keep my children and myself healthy without vaccines?”

I thought those were great questions.

So, why DO doctors push for scheduled vaccines so strongly? The reasons are complex and overlapping, but having been in practice for more than 25 years, I have a few ideas.

From the beginning, doctors are only taught the basic theories about of how vaccines work. They are told vaccines are safe and beneficial, and are directed to follow the ever-expanding vaccination schedule designed for children and adults. The vast majority robotically follow the recommendations, never questioning the directives.

Most physicians no doubt believe they are contributing to the health of vaccinated individuals and promoting the greater good of society. Few, if any, connect the deterioration of our nation’s health with the bloated vaccination schedule that now jabs 40 doses of 16 vaccines into tiny bodies by five years of age. Indeed, more recently trained doctors may look at a truly healthy child as an anomaly. Their only experience has been treating children with diseases that are vaccine-induced but somehow thought to be part of “normal development.” When did doctors start believing that speech delays, sensory-integration disorders, asthma and eczema are a normal part of childhood? Why have doctors – and parents – accepted that OT, PT and speech therapy are a “normal” part of growing up?

There are not-so-subtle financial incentives that drive doctors to become vaccine pushers. I have read that pediatricians can earn a significant percentage of their income from vaccination, meaning, vaccines are encouraged to keep a positive balance sheet. After all, a medical practice is a business, with sizable expenses such as malpractice insurance, staff salaries and rent. For physicians who are employees of a hospital system, they have fee quotas to meet so they can receive bonuses. Many of the vaccines in the inventory are expensive (for example, Gardasil and MMR) and some have very short expiration dates (i.e. flu shots and Flumist). Adding a shot to a routine office visit generates more revenue. So no doubt, financial pressures play a role in the thought process of those who push vaccination.

Even if they are not fans of vaccines, many doctors give vaccines out of fear. They do not want to question authority or challenge professional organizations and licensing bodies, such as state medical boards. From the very beginning of medical education, bright, aspiring medical students, interns and residents are taught to do as they are told, follow orders and not confront the status quo. Doctors-in-training who challenge the system or dare to think independently are often punished with more work or publically humiliated in front of their peers. Early on, they get the message they better tow the Party Line if they want to survive. Later, when in their individual practices, doctors who buck the system and don’t vaccinate, or vaccinate less aggressively, often suffer penalties such as losing hospital privileges, being dropped from insurance company rosters or being ostracized by their peers.

For parents who have confronted this massive system that is stacked against your choices, I commend you. Making an informed decision about an elective procedure such as vaccination is critically important. Considering the current politically hostile climate toward parents who choose to avoid vaccination, it is important to keep up with routine office visits with a pediatrician or holistic practitioner, even if your child is very healthy. Some parents have been accused of neglect for not vaccinating. Having documented office visits for routine well care demonstrates that you are taking good care of your child, with medical oversight, even through you choose to not vaccinate.

I encourage everyone to work with a practitioner who respects the choices. Often family practitioners, nurse practitioners, and osteopathic physicians are more flexible and less dogmatic than their MD pediatrician counterparts. Always keep in mind that YOU are the primary caretaker for your children. Never allow yourself to be bullied into vaccinating or into accepting any other elective procedures you wish to decline.

For more information, I strongly recommend a visit to the Tenpenny IMC store for Dr. Tenpenny’s well-documented resources. I welcome any parents to my new practice at Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center who want to openly discuss vaccine issues and want other options for raising healthy children.

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