Online Program

Vaccination Exemption Laws' Influence on Physicians' Attitude Toward Alternative Vaccination Schedules

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Whitney Mayer, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Kristen Feemster, MD MPH MSHP, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
Kathleen Noonan, JD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Alison M. Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, Leonard Davis Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
An increasing number of parents are choosing to delay or forgo certain vaccines for their children through requests for alternative vaccine schedules. While this choice is often based upon vaccine safety concerns, delaying vaccination puts children at unnecessary risk without a clear benefit.  This study investigates physician and practice-level characteristics associated with pediatricians’ acceptance of alternative vaccine schedules in contrast with the recommended vaccine schedule and measures the association of state vaccine exemption laws and regulations on a pediatrician’s decision to accept an alternative vaccine schedule. Using survey methodology, we conducted a cross sectional study among a sample of pediatric providers in states with exemption policies of varying degrees of leniency. We hypothesize that pediatricians in states with more lenient vaccine exemption policies will be more likely to grant alternative vaccine schedules. Furthermore, we hypothesize that younger pediatricians as well as pediatricians who are uncomfortable addressing vaccine concerns will be more likely to permit an alternative vaccine schedule. A better understanding of the multiple factors impacting pediatricians’ decision to endorse alternative vaccine schedules can inform the development of initiatives targeting both pediatricians and state policymakers and legislators to promote adherence to the recommended schedule. Preliminary analysis of results revealed an association. between vaccination law leniency and provider attitutes toward alternative vaccination schedules. Preliminary results suggest pediatricians in states with more lenient exemption policies are more likely to grant or suggest an alternative vaccination schedule. More detailed statistical analysis will be conducted to better determine the statistical association between variables.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Identify the association between state vaccine exemption laws and regulations and pediatricians’ decisions to recommend or permit an alternative vaccine schedule after adjusting for pediatrician and practice characteristics

Keyword(s): Child Health, Child Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on this content because I am a joint MPH/JD student and have focused aspects of both my legal and public health education on vaccination law and policy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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