DOCTORS are refusing treatment for unvaccinated children over fears they may present a risk to other patients.

The revelation has prompted calls from the Royal Children’s Hospital for doctors not to discriminate against and endanger children based on decisions made by their parents, reports Herald Sun.

Findings of the RCH’s latest Child Health Poll shows one in six Australian children who are not up-to-date with their vaccines have been refused care by a health care provider.

The poll has also revealed 7 out of 10 parents would reconsider sending their child to a school if they discovered there were high rates of unvaccinated classmates.

A quarter of unvaccinated children under six and one in five primary-school age children were found to have been refused care by health clinics, while a small number of teenagers were also rejected.

“All children, regardless of their vaccination status, have a right to access healthcare,” Dr Rhodes said.

“While some people may feel they can understand the reasons for doctors and other healthcare providers thinking twice about whether they will treat unvaccinated kids, we have to remember these children are not making that decision for themselves.

“If we have a situation where people are being refused care they will seek out certain healthcare providers who support their decisions around not vaccinating there kids, and that presents a real risk of creating a subgroup in the population where we are not educating families and helping them to understand why vaccination is important.”

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians yesterday released a statement saying vaccinations have been more effective in preventing disease and death than any other medical intervention, and health professionals should ensuring children were immunised.

“Health professionals should not refuse to treat unvaccinated children. Doing so represents unethical coercion and further disadvantages these children,”

“Instead, health professionals should maintain contact with the children’s families to improve their care and provide ongoing education around the health benefits of vaccines.”

Do you think doctor’s should have the rights to refuse treatment for unvaccinated childre?  Or do you agree this is totally irresponsible?

Share your comments below.

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  • they swear an oath and therefore should treat everyone the same regardless of who they are or what they believe in.


  • It is certainly controversial isn’t it?


  • I think this would be against the oath they take to help everyone. They need to find a way to treat both children the same. It’s not the child’s idea not to immunised. The parents need to be educated in what they should or shouldn’t do to make sure other children are not affected by their unimmunised children.


  • I feel doctors have to treat these young unvaccinated children, but they may be able to do so somewhere where they cannot cause harm to others in someway.


  • I DONT KNOW how to answer this. Some children cannot be vaccinated for health reasons so do the medical profession refuse to help them? When DR TAKES ON THE OATH IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE NON DISCRIMINATORY.


  • If you are training to become a Doctor then ask yourself why? If your answer is because they make good money then stop training right now….you are the wrong type of person to be a Doctor. The right person is the one that says they want to help heal sick people, save peoples lives and educate people about health in an attempt to help them live a longer and healthier life. A true Docotr would never turn a sick person away.

    • It’s difficult when the person who has the power (until they are old enough to make their own), to make health choices for their love ones. They cannot be held responsible, nor do I believe should be banned from receiving treatment or care for their needs. A doctor or health provider is governed by the hippocratic oath in its original form to swear to uphold specific ethical standards for their patients. This involves a promise in ‘doing no harm’ to their patients.

      I believe they are doing harm by refusing care for those in need and being faced with these issues there should be another alternative to assist those that need care if they do not want to put other patients at risk. But in saying that they are also there to provide guidances and advice so people will learn about and be more able to manage their conditions.


  • This seems to me to be very unethical, you can’t call yourself a doctor and refuse to treat patients


  • I agree this is totally irresponsible ! Lives could be at stake !!
    I remember the discussions we had when I worked in the hospital.
    Should we refuse those who aren’t insured ? the homeless ? children ?
    Should we refuse treatment for unvaccinated kids ? these kids are valuable just as any other kids, these kids can’t do anything about their situation…should we deny them treatment ??
    Never !!


  • Very interesting article. I don’t think doctors should be able to refuse treatment to anyone- the ones who are unvaccinated are probably the ones who need help most. That being said those who don’t vaccinate their children are making a completely illogical decision and endangering the lives of their children. There are so many scare stories out there but the risk of any reaction is far smaller than that of your child contracting a potentially deadly disease, plus a child won’t die from having a reaction to vaccine that’s why doctors ask you to wait for 10 minutes and take every precaution. If a child contracts one of the things that we vaccinate against it’s too late there aren’t any cures for most of them.
    People forget that just because people aren’t contracting polio in Australia anymore doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. They never found a cure, only a vaccination to prevent you from contracting it. Anyone who has an unvaccinated child is taking the risk of their child contracting polio or some other disease every day they take them out of the house. People just need to stop being so ridiculous!


  • I think the doctors have a point in refusing to treat an un-vaccinated child. A child who contracts say Measles due to not being vaccinated poses a very high risk to other children especially those who are too young or have a medical reason for not having had their needles. Catch up vaccines are available to ALL children who missed them due to temporary illness so no excuse just because they had a cold when it was first due! What really scared me as a parent was being in the GP’s waiting room with any kids that had a childhood disease when my babies were too young to have any defence against it, even with the regular vaccinations a child can contract the disease altho the chance is lower. If we lose the “herd” vaccination numbers we risk seeing a comeback of diseases that will kill children, non complying parents are already facing financial punishment for not vaccinating by losing Centrelink benefits & it is working but there are still many not doing the right thing. Why should our healthy & vaccinated children be put at risk because of selfish decisions on the part of parents who will not take part of it. I fully support any doctor refusing to treat a child who is ill from a preventable disease because unfortunately I did have to share a waiting room with an un-vaccinated child who had Measles when one of mine were little. What shocked me most was the mother did not keep her child in a separate area that was isolated from others, she was an intelligent lady who was known for her acting career in a children’s TV show so she was used to working with kids. I thought she would have more respect for others but when I spoke to my doctor about it she told me the parent did not believe in vaccines & preferred alternative health. Very hypocritical to shun modern medicine to leave her child open to disease but then come back to ask for help to treat the child when they caught the disease.


  • There are millions of unvaccinated children in the world . Most of those treated for Ebola in Africa would have not been vaccinated against anything good thing the doctors dealing with that crisis were not so choosy. Downright unprofessional and against the principles of a doctors training in my opinion.. Geoff.Newall Retired Pharmacist. Perth, Western Australia.


  • I know one family with two children who didn’t have some of their vaccinations on time because of colds, viruses or tonsillitis. Drs. will not give vaccinations if there is any sickness present. They did have all their vaccinations. I’m not sure what the procedure is now but I do know that I wasn’t given a vaccination record card. Forturnately it had been recorded in the Dr’s files. Had we moved to another area and changed Dr. how would have I got the details.


  • I have to say I agree with both moms below …a special area away from others is my only solution.


  • It’s hardly fair to newborn babies that aren’t old enough to have had their vaccinations yet to have to share a waiting room in a doctor surgery with sick unvaccinated children that may have whooping cough, measles or mumps. Some method of segregating the two groups seems reasonable.


  • Ooh, whilst I don’t agree or believe in not vaccinating children, it is not their choice or fault. A sick child should absolutely treated for any ailment. I would have thought it was unethical not to treat someone and a breach of their oath.


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