9 Ways to Boost Your Confidence When Your Doctor Pressures to Vaccinate
by Missy Fluegge
Contrary to what some doctors and officials might tell you, your child does not need shots to attend public school. Legally, you can receive a vaccine exemption in all fifty states.
Sometimes, even in states with stricter laws, getting the vaccine exemption is the easy part. The hard part, for some parents, is having that conversation with a doctor and just saying no to vaccines.
One government survey revealed that over 28 percent of parents question, delay, or refuse vaccines, including nine percent who accept a vaccine for their child even though they are not comfortable with it. Don’t allow yourself to be part of the nine percent who accepted a vaccine under pressure. 
1. Be prepared for what your doctor will tell you at your child’s appointment.
Doctors are trained to use certain techniques when parents question vaccination. This training is provided by pharmaceutical companies and other organizations that receive funding from vaccine makers. If you want to learn more about the specific responses doctors will offer, you can read this short article. 
When you share a concern, doctors will often respond with scripted answers, such as, “we are lucky to be able to protect our babies from many serious diseases with vaccines” and “vaccines do not cause autism,” but they are trained to provide empathy rather than unbiased, scientific information.
2. Identify why saying no to your child’s doctor is hard for you.
Are you uncomfortable because your child’s doctor has many degrees and awards on the wall? Are you someone who avoids arguments or confrontations? Do you consider yourself shy or quiet? Are you worried about your child getting sick if you decline vaccines? Are you still adjusting to being a new parent?
If you can determine why you are struggling to discuss vaccines with your doctor, you will be able to decide if you need to address that challenge, or if it is irrelevant to your conversation about vaccines.
3. Practice your own scripted responses when your doctor pressures you to vaccinate.
What will you say when your doctor tells you it’s time to vaccinate your child? Which response is most comfortable for you?
- “Not today. My child is getting over a cold.”
- “Our child is fine. Thank you.”
- “We are delaying vaccines for now.”
- “I have decided not to get this vaccine.”
- “I’m doing some research about vaccines.”
- “We will not be vaccinating at this time.”
4. Listen to your mama (or papa) bear instinct.
There are so many times when we have that “gut feeling” about something, and we realize later that we were right. If vaccinating your child doesn’t feel “right,” trust your instinct. Give yourself a little more time to research and confidently decide if vaccination is right or wrong for your family.
5. Develop a network of supportive friends.
This suggestion has many benefits, including the support you will receive in your challenging and rewarding role as a parent. Your support system can be made of family members, friends, and people you meet online.
Spending time with these individuals gives you a chance have easy discussions about vaccines with others, which will make the conversations you have with your child’s doctor easier. You will also be able to share information with each other about research, friendly pediatricians, and ways to stay healthy naturally. And, having supportive people in your life always boosts your confidence and self-esteem!
6. Ask for the vaccine package insert.
When you take your child to a doctor appointment, ask the nurse or the doctor for a package insert from the vaccine your child is scheduled to receive. You will not be troubling or bothering them! These inserts, straight from the manufacturer, are much more informative than the “vaccine safety sheet” that the doctor often gives you after vaccination, which is printed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
You can tell the healthcare provider that you will take the information home and read it if you want to decide about the vaccine for a future visit. Then, you can carefully read the side effects and ingredients in a relaxed, quiet setting.
You must also be aware that not all ingredients are listed on the package insert, or anywhere. Some ingredients, such as peanut oil, are “generally regarded as safe,” so they are not listed but may certainly be dangerous for children. 
7. Practice confidence in other areas of your life.
If you feel intimidated, insecure, or inferior at the doctor’s office, you may be able to boost your confidence by being more assertive in other ways. Ask your server for a modification to your entree, or order something that is not on the menu. Ask for help with housework or errands when you need it. Accept help when someone offers it to you. Make time for yourself to do something you enjoy, even if only for a few minutes each day.
I know, when you are a busy parent, these reminders are not always easy to do! Sometimes, the discomfort we experience when talking with doctors about vaccines is a reminder that we need to boost our self-esteem and know our self-worth.
8. Find a supportive health care provider.
Doctors are now being encouraged not to refuse to provide services to families who do not vaccinate. However, some doctors still tell parents they will no longer treat their child if parents do not vaccinate.  Talk with other parents to discover a doctor or nurse practitioner who will be respectful of your wishes not to vaccinate.
Chiropractors can be a wonderful resource for families, for preventive care and for treating illness, as well as sharing the wealth of knowledge they have about holistic health, and their offices are usually free from pressure to vaccinate.
9. Reconsider the need for frequent well-child checkups.
For some families, routine visits to the doctor may not be necessary. Is your child growing well? Are they in good health? Most well-baby check-ups are primarily to keep your child on the CDC vaccination schedule. If you are choosing not to vaccinate, or to delay vaccinations, your child may not need to follow the same schedule for visits as suggested by your clinic or hospital.
Discussing vaccines with your child’s health care provider is not always easy. With time, research, and support, these conversations will become so comfortable for you that you will wonder why you ever worried about telling your child’s doctor that you are saying no to vaccines.
If you would like to know which vaccine exemptions available in your state, as mentioned above, click here.
Parents, how did you just say no to vaccines? If you have had this conversation with your child’s doctor or nurse, please share your experience in the comment section below, so other parents can feel encouraged and empowered to make the an informed choice for their child.