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Pediatrician blows the whistle on financial incentives given to doctors for administering vaccines
By Cassie B. // May 13, 2024

Childhood vaccines may help prevent certain illnesses, but they also help line the pockets of the doctors who administer them, one prominent pediatrician has warned, underscoring how important it is for parents to stay informed about vaccine dangers and weigh their options carefully.

In a recent interview with Children's Health Defense, Dr. Paul Thomas explained the impact of not sticking to the CDC's official childhood vaccine schedule on his pediatric practice.

Dr. Thomas, who is a Dartmouth-trained pediatrician, explained what happened when he started telling parents at his practice that they could choose to vaccinate their children according to the official CDC schedule, spread out the vaccines and administer them more slowly than recommended so the child's immune system can develop first, or forgo vaccines altogether.

Many parents chose to skip vaccines, and he quickly observed a financial impact on his practice, which saw around 15,000 patients and had 33 staff members. After carrying out an analysis of billing records and the income they made via vaccine administration fees and quality bonuses related to vaccination rates, he discovered that they were losing more than a million dollars due to refused vaccines.

He said that pediatric practices depend on the income from vaccines to stay in business as overhead costs can be as high as 80 percent. There are a lot of costs involved in running a pediatric office, from nurses and receptionists to medical records and billing.

The financial incentives that doctors receive for administering vaccines are what keep them in business. First, there is an administration fee that they receive simply for giving the jabs. He said this is typically around $40 for the first antigen and $20 for subsequent antigens.

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“Let’s just say a two-month well-baby visit, there’s a DPT – that’s three shots, three antigens, Hib [Haemophilus influenzae type b], Prevnar [pneumococcal], Hep B [hepatitis B], polio, rota [rotavirus] – [that’s] about $240,” he noted.

That isn't the only way that pediatricians are raking in a profit from vaccines. Although it does not represent a considerable source of income, they also add a small markup onto the cost of the vaccines. However, the most significant financial incentives are the bonuses they earn related to their vaccination rates. For example, insurance companies offer them bonus payments if they meet specific benchmarks, with one common one being having 80 percent of their patients fully vaccinated by the time they turn 2.

Since Dr. Thomas's practice's vaccination rate was closer to one percent, he risked losing 15 percent of his overall revenue. “Really, it effectively means a pediatric practice cannot survive using insurance without doing most of the vaccines, if not all of them. And I think that explains the blinders – [why doctors] just won’t go there and look at the fact that these vaccines are causing a lot of harm.”

Pediatricians keep giving vaccines despite SIDS and other risks

One of the most serious concerns cited by Dr. Thomas is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). He said that the name implies that no one is sure what causes it, but to him, it is clear that there is a link to vaccines.

He pointed out that six studies that looked into the correlation between vaccines and SIDS found that 97 percent of SIDS cases took place within the first 10 days of receiving a vaccine while just three percent occurred in the subsequent 10 days. Similar patterns can be observed in other studies, with up to 90 percent of all SIDS deaths taking place during the first week after vaccination.

Other studies point to a link between a range of other health issues and vaccines. In addition, children who are vaccinated are more vulnerable to infections and illnesses than their unvaccinated peers when it comes to everything from ear and sinus infections to lung infections.

Dr. Thomas said: “We know without a doubt that things like neurodevelopmental concerns, learning disabilities, ADD, ADHD [attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder], autism [are] clearly linked to vaccines. The more you vaccinate, the more likely you are to have these problems.”

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