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Promoting the Value of Pediatrics: Letters to the Editor


​The following letters may be tailored to respond to articles in local newspapers that tout views contrary to AAP policy.

Retail Based Clinics

I am writing in response to the [date] article, [insert headline].  In a society ever more driven by consumer demand and convenience, it is easy to overlook quality and long-term benefits. But convenience alone should not drive the healthcare our children receive.

Health clinics based in drug or discount stores, for example Wal-Mart, with no doctors on site, are not appropriate for infants, children and adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly discourages parents from taking their children to these sites.

Children should have a medical home—one place where they get their complete health care coordinated whether they are well or sick. A pediatrician’s office provides the full spectrum of care by providers who are specifically trained in diagnosing and treating children and adolescents.  Parents benefit from the pediatrician’s expertise, and the pediatrician benefits by knowing everything about his or her patient.

An incorrect diagnosis or treatment, or information not reported to the child’s doctor, can cause serious complications.  In fact, it is risky to attempt to diagnose and treat an illness without having the child’s full medical history. And while these venues may seem to be a bargain if they charge less than the cost of a visit to the pediatrician, they are not. Every visit to the pediatrician’s is an opportunity for specialized care, additional counseling, and optimal follow-up.

The AAP is encouraging more pediatricians to expand or adjust their office hours and scheduling to better meet patients’ and parent’s needs. Meanwhile, I urge parents to think twice before using in-store clinics instead of going to the doctor’s office.

Explaining the Total Costs of HPV Vaccine


Dear (Name of author/writer):
In your recent article [title of piece] discussing HPV vaccine, you indicated that the cost of giving one dose of HPV vaccine is $120. Please be aware that the actual price of providing the vaccine is between $160 and $200 per dose or a total of $480 to $600 for the series of three.

Per the American Academy of Pediatrics “Business Case for Pricing Vaccines and Immunization Administration,” the true cost of providing a vaccine to a young woman includes the vaccine purchase price, the costs for vaccine storage, possible vaccine loss, and inventory maintenance (estimated to be 15-20% of the purchase price), plus the cost to administer the vaccine (nurse’s time, syringe, etc.), which is approximately $20. Thus, the real cost to provide one dose of HPV vaccine is between $160 and $200, not the often-quoted $120 that represents only the cost of buying the vaccine product from the manufacturer.

Thank you for highlighting the importance of providing HPV to young women. I hope this information is helpful to your future reporting on the total vaccine costs. I [we] greatly appreciate your efforts to report accurately on the true cost of vaccines.


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