Novant Health clinic to stop accepting new patients who do not vaccinate children

Novant Health clinic to start not accepting new patients who do not vaccinate children

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Novant Health clinic is taking a strong stand in support of vaccinations, and soon it will not accept new patients who do not vaccinate their children.

Novant Health Child and Adolescent Medical Group said it made the decision to require new patients at their clinics to be fully immunized by the time children are two years old.

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Families will have two years to have their older children fully vaccinated.

They said if you decide to not vaccinate your children, they will assume the children will be leaving the clinic and finding care elsewhere.

The medical group has three locations in Union County. The clinics are in Waxhaw, Monroe and Wesley Chapel.

In a statement to Channel 9, Novant Health said, “Due to ongoing public health concerns, which pose a serious health risk to unvaccinated children, Novant Health Child and Adolescent Medical Group will adhere to the vaccination schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Although Novant Health sent formal letters to its patients at the three locations in Union County, the health provider said it has always required vaccinations by the age of two at its other locations around Charlotte.

LETTER FROM NOVANT HEALTH’S CHILD AND ADOLESCENT MEDICAL GROUP:

Dear patient and family,

We have important news that will affect your future care.

At Novant Health, we firmly believe that all children and young adults should receive all recommended vaccines according to the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

It is our desire to continue as your healthcare partner. Based on the current public health issues, we have made the difficult decision to no longer accept new patients who do not wish to vaccinate their children. We will be requiring all new patients to be fully immunized by the time the child is two years of age. We will also begin to transition all current non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated patients into the vaccination schedule. Families will have two years to have these older children fully vaccinated. If your decision is not to vaccinate your children, we will assume your children will be leaving our clinic and finding care elsewhere. Our hope is that you will elect to have your children vaccinated.

Please know that this decision was not taken lightly, but out of concern for the health and safety of all our patients and the general public. We will assist in any way possible with this transition. Please let us know how we can help.

There are resources listed below for your reading with regard to childhood immunizations, including vaccine schedules and vaccine education center. The CDC immunization schedule for Children & adolescents and the latest information for the CDC can be found here.

Should you desire to transfer your child's care to another primary care provider, we will be happy to provide a copy of your child's medical record to your new provider, with a signed authorization to do so. Please contact us for a release of information form, or you may request a transfer of records through MyChart if you have an active account.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our offices.

Novant Health also sent a statement from one of its own doctors.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics states that non-medical exemptions to immunizations should be eliminated, and that the pediatrician may consider dismissal of families who refuse vaccination as an acceptable option,” Dr. Catherine Ohmstede said.

Justin Bradford takes his kids to Novant Health’s Children and Adolescent Medical Group’s clinic in Monroe.

He hopes other parents will listen to the warning.

“It’s the safety of your child, and if there’s something out there that will make them better, keep them protected, then why not?” Bradford said.

This comes as more and more parents and guardians are getting vaccine exemptions for their children.

The CDC is reporting a small increase of young children not getting shots against some diseases, including measles.

9 Investigates: Vaccination rates in local schools as students head back

The state of North Carolina tracks how many kindergartners are not vaccinated by the 30th day of school. Channel 9 dug into the numbers in February.

There was no proof of vaccination for at least 25% of kindergartners and only about 2% of the students in Mecklenburg County had a documented exemption.

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