I heard the weirdest thing from a patient today and wondered if anyone else has had this issue with their day care or school?

I saw a 15 month old patient of mine for his “well baby” checkup and the mother, who is an elementary school teacher, was surprised when I told her that her son needed some immunizations. Now, she has no problems vaccinating her children, but she was concerned as she had “planned” on taking her son to daycare after her visit that morning and had forgotten that he had vaccines at the visit.  I couldn’t figure out what the problem was....but she said that she couldn’t take him back to daycare on the same day that he had his shots! WHAT?

Now this child was getting his 15 month old HIB and DTap “booster” shots (in other words, he had received 3 of these vaccines before) and there was not a history of ANY problems.  The daycare also “required” that her child show proof of his immunizations.....so what was the deal? How is it possible that parents must take off from work on a day that their child sees the pediatrician for a “well child” visit and immunizations and then the child cannot go to daycare?  How are parents supposed to juggle work and “save” days off for when their child is ill and legitimately needs to stay home?

She wanted to get his vaccines, as she really did not have another day that she felt she could take off in the near future and she was already at my office. What a dilemma. So, I grabbed my letterhead, and hand wrote a letter to the daycare explaining that he had just had his check up, was in EXCELLENT health, and that he had received his immunizations according to AAP and ACIP guidelines and could return to school.  Guess what? It didn’t help! The poor mother had to take the rest of the day off from school, get a substitute for her class and go home with her perfectly healthy and fully immunized child. Seems like we penalized her as well as her class for trying to be a good parent.  

I think this is crazy! I’m all for keeping sick children out of day care and school, but for immunizations....go figure.