There's drama from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Last week, several things happened. One, the group told its members it's now OK to stop seeing families who refuse to vaccinate their children. Two, it began urging states to repeal laws which allow religion as an excuse for not having their kids inoculated.

New Jersey has a very liberal religious exemption policy and it is clearly being taken advantage of. The number of religious exemptions has grown 600 percent in just 10 years, according to the state Department of Health, and as noted in a report by NJ Advance Media.

There was already an attempt in the Jersey legislature to make families claiming religious exemption explain how exactly vaccines would violate, contradict, or otherwise be inconsistent with their faith. It failed in the legislature, which is too bad considering a 600 percent increase points to a lot of people taking advantage of the exemption.

The refusal to see families who won't vaccinate their kids may seem shocking or unethical, but I support it — just as I would support a doctor's right to drop a patient who refuses to stop smoking after a second heart attack, or who won't stop drinking after the onset of liver failure.

While a doctor does have to abide by certain ethics, in the end I believe they are still running a business and if a customer (patient) refuses to listen to sound medical advice, that doctor should be free to tell that customer (patient) to take his or her business elsewhere.

Groups of children who go unvaccinated pose a risk to children who are too young to get all the required vaccines or can't have them because their immune systems are too weak. So the argument that only the kids whose families choose to not vaccinate them are being put at risk goes right out the window. Then you might think, "But so few kids are going around unvaccinated, it can't be a big threat." Remember the 600 percent rise in religious exemptions in only 10 years? Hunterdon County, for example has 4.8 percent of the student population unvaccinated. That's huge.

The American Academy of Pediatrics isn't being unreasonable. They are telling their members to try to work with parents, explain to parents on a personal level about the risks to their own children, and if need be the relative safety of vaccines compared to the thousands of children and adults sickened and killed in the past each year from things like diptheria, meningitis and whooping cough. Some of these have been making a comeback due in large part to people turning the science of vaccines into the voodoo of autism myth panic.

A pediatric practice dropping a family over their refusal to vaccinate their children is recommended only as a last resort. Is it ethical? I think it's not only ethical, it's necessary to stop this disturbing trend of hysteria over vaccines.

— Jeff Deminski

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