Panther Creek pediatric office notifies parents, patients it will not accept unvaccinated; says not due to new COVID-19 measures

Wake County News

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – A Cary pediatrician’s office said it will discharge patients who don’t follow the state’s required immunization schedule.

UNC Pediatrics at Panther Creek notified parents and patients of the new policy earlier this month.

“I think they’re coming from a good place and saying ‘I want children here who come in my office to be vaccinated. Because those children can affect other children,” Luciano Decellis said, who has 50-plus years experience as a nurse.

The State of North Carolina requires children to receive certain vaccines before entering school. The list differs depending on the grade, but typically includes the measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox and polio vaccines.

As of now, the COVID-19 and flu vaccines are not required to attend school, so they are not included in the new policy.

“I would think for a doctor’s office, I feel that it would be ethically wrong if they didn’t treat all children,” Lauren Ivey said, a parent who lives in Cary. “But then again, doctor’s offices don’t take some children based on insurance.”

UNC Health told CBS 17 the new policy is not related to COVID-19 or the increased hesitation about vaccines and said the timing is “coincidental”.

The change comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate 22 million babies across the globe missed their first dose of the measles vaccine in 2020.

Measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, but outbreaks occasionally happen. A majority of those missed doses happened outside of the U.S., but the health organizations warn it could lead to a resurgence in outbreaks.

“I really think this pediatrician is taking a stand and God bless ‘em,” Virginia Decellis of Cary said.

According to the letter that was mailed, “The only exception that will be made is for cases in which there is a medical reason for why it would be unsafe to give vaccines.”

It goes on to state, “We understand that some parents have chosen to delay immunizations or not have their child immunized at all; however, the medical providers in this practice do not support any of those options, because refusing or delaying immunizations will leave children susceptible to these infections and contribute to the spread of these infections in the community.”

A spokesperson for UNC Health told CBS 17 the health system encourages patients to get vaccinated, but they are not required across the entire system.

Primary care and pediatric clinics can still decide whether they will accept unvaccinated patients.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Click here for full list of trending stories