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Study Finds Physicians Are Agreeing To Delay Childhood Shots At Parents' Request

DENVER (CBS4) - The recent measles outbreak brought the debate over childhood vaccinations to the forefront, and now doctors are in a tough spot as a new study shows they are getting increased pressure from parents to postpone the shots.

Not only are physicians being asked to delay the shots, but the study found many are agreeing to do so.

Childhood Vaccinations
Mai'ana Randolph getting her shots (credit: CBS)

At 4 months old, Mai'ana Randolph received the recommended two shots with multiple vaccines.

"All of my children have gotten vaccinated because we are pro vaccination," Mai'ana's mother said.

But not all parents are convinced.

"In our clinic, we're having this conversation 10 to 20 times a day," said Dr. Tai Lockspeiser, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado said.

Lockspeiser, who works mostly at the Child Health Clinic at Children's Hospital Colorado, said parents are choosing to postpone immunizations.

"If they're spreading this out, I think we're going to start seeing a resurgence of a lot of these vaccine-preventable illnesses," she said.

DR. DAVE HNIDA'S BLOG: Is It Safe To Delay Your Child's Immunizations?

It turns out the majority of physicians are concerned. In 2012 researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children's Hospital Colorado surveyed doctors and found 93 percent had been asked by parents to spread out vaccines for children under two.

"At least one family in a month is requesting to do this," said study author Dr. Allison Kempe.

Kempe found while most doctors worried delaying the shots put children at risk, 37 percent said they often or always agreed to do it.

"They've been told, 'Be patient, build trust.' On the other hand they are doing things that they feel are not in the best interest of children," Kempe said.

Kempe believes it's time for tough questions.

"I question myself whether parents who choose not to vaccinate shouldn't be also choosing to home school their children," she said.

The researchers found discussion about vaccine safety needs to start at pregnancy and the medical community needs to work to counter misinformation.

Parents who delay vaccines are concerned about complications, and the survey found that some continue to worry about autism even though studies show there is no link.

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