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Journal

Parental refusal of vaccination and transplantation listing decisions: A nationwide survey

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Published:25th Mar 2020
Many professional societies and research studies recommend complete vaccination before pediatric solid organ transplantation. Nevertheless, incompletely vaccinated children often receive transplants. As the number of parents refusing to vaccinate children for nonmedical reasons increases, pediatric transplantation programs face difficult listing decisions. Given the importance of psychosocial criteria in listing decisions, this study explores how parental refusal of vaccination affects those listing decisions. Surveys were emailed to individuals at 195 pediatric solid organ transplantation programs in the United States, with a 71% response rate. Forty-four respondents (39%) reported that their programs have had cases involving parental refusal of vaccination. In response to hypothetical scenarios, 93 respondents (82%) would list a child not vaccinated for medical reasons, whereas only 54 respondents (47%) would list a child whose parents refused vaccination. Only five respondents (4%) reported that their programs had written policies regarding parental refusal of vaccination. These data reveal inconsistencies across pediatric transplantation programs regarding how parental refusal of vaccination affects listing decisions and raise the issue of whether and how the reason for incomplete vaccination should be factored into listing decisions. We recommend further discussion and the development of written guidelines to unify programs' assessments of incompletely vaccinated pediatric transplantation candidates.

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