Austin Regional will no longer take on un-vaccinated pediatric patients
In a press conference at Austin Regional Clinic Tuesday, Dr. Alison Ziara spoke about pregnant women, cancer patients, infants and other vulnerable patients who are at risk in their waiting rooms because of un-vaccinated children.
So they're cracking down. Starting Wednesday ARC physicians will no longer accept new pediatric patients whose parents won't let them get vaccinated.
"For our existing patients, we will work with them to begin a catch-up schedule," Ziara said.
Dr. Ziara says there are exceptions.
"People who have a very fragile immune system who can't actually get vaccines and those that have had...severe vaccine reactions," Ziara said.
According to Austin Regional, the number of un-vaccinated patients are on the rise. They're planning on having one-on-one conversations with those who have concerns -- telling them it's the best way to fight against illnesses like measles, chicken pox and diphtheria.
"We would love to convince them that it is in their best interest and their child's best interest to have the vaccinations. Because there's just been a lot of fear-mongering," said Dr. Norman Chenven, Austin Regional CEO.
Kaycee Crisp has 2 little girls. She chooses to vaccinate them and she applauds Austin Regional's new policy.
"As the mother of a small child who is still getting some of her vaccinations, I'd like to be able to take my child to her doctor or another health care provider and not have to worry that she is going to be exposed to illnesses that you can vaccinate against," Crisp said.
Not everyone agrees. On the MyFoxAustin Facebook page, Shaundra Bobo wrote "They are within their right to do so. Just as I am in my right to not subject my child to injected poison. Funny how all the pro-vaxxers are so scared of children that haven't been vaccinated. If your logic holds water, shouldn't it be the other way around?"
"In general, I support parent's rights to make their own decision but when their decisions start to effect the health of my child I start to have a problem with that," Crisp said.
Following a major measles outbreak at Disneyland in December, today the Governor of California signed a bill doing away with the state's personal belief exemption for immunizations -- requiring nearly all public school children to get vaccinated.
California will join Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states with such a strict vaccination law.