Documenting refusal to vaccinate

September 1, 2006

When parents refuse to get their children vaccinated, will documentation in an EMR sufficiently serve as a disclaimer?

Question: When parents refuse to get their children vaccinated, will documentation in an EMR sufficiently serve as a disclaimer?

Answer: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that physicians actually have parents sign a form indicating that they are fully informed of the risks of their decision. It proves that the physician had this conversation with the parent, and the parent is fully informed.

You can find the academy's recommendations and a sample form at the American Academy of Pediatrics Web site.

You also should call your malpractice carrier and ask what it recommends. They'll be the ones to defend you should a parent later change his or her mind and cause a problem.