OBJECTIVE:

To determine the frequency of parents' requests for alternative childhood immunization schedules (ACISs) and pediatricians' comfort with and willingness to use ACISs.

METHODS:

Washington State primary care pediatricians were asked to complete an Internet-based survey on ACISs. The main outcome measures were the frequency of parents' requests for ACISs, pediatricians' comfort with their use, and pediatricians' willingness to use ACISs for individual vaccines. In addition, respondents were asked to characterize their practices and to provide demographic information.

RESULTS:

Of the 311 respondents (response rate: 65%), 209 met inclusion criteria and were included in analyses. Overall, 77% of eligible respondents reported that parents sometimes or frequently requested ACISs, and 61% were comfortable using an ACIS if requested by a parent. Pediatricians were least willing to consider using ACISs for diphtheria-tetanus toxoids-acellular pertussis vaccine, Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine, and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Pediatricians who practiced in a neighborhood or community clinic were less comfortable using ACISs than were those in a 1- or 2-physician practice (odds ratio: 0.10).

CONCLUSIONS:

Washington State pediatricians are regularly being asked to use ACISs, and most of them are comfortable using them if requested. Pediatricians are least willing to delay H influenzae type b vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus toxoids-acellular pertussis vaccine, and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, which suggests prioritization of immunizations that protect against potentially devastating bacterial infections of infancy and early childhood.

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