questionI am the director of a child care center that serves children aged 6 weeks to 5 years whose parents are employees of a health care system. A parent on the waitlist has asked if we accept religious exemptions for immunizations. This is the first time I have had this request and would like guidance on the risks of accepting a child who not immunized.

answerAs a pediatrician and very active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I very strongly advocate following the recommended immunization schedule. Accepting an unimmunized child into a childcare setting can put every child in the center at risk for diseases such as measles, whooping cough etc. This child care center accepts infants who are too young to receive certain immunizations, putting them at even greater risk if an unimmunized child is present. I cannot speak to the legal issues involved in this decision, but from a medical standpoint I can absolutely say that accepting an unimmunized child puts the other children in the center at increased risk.
Debbie Greenhouse