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Am Fam Physician. 2022;105(5):544-546

Author disclosure: No relevant financial relationships.

Case Scenario

I am the family physician for a family of four and have cared for both children, currently 15 and 13 years of age, since they were born. When I recommended human papilloma-virus (HPV) vaccination for their son, the mother declined, saying that HPV is a sexually transmitted infection and that she did not believe the immunization was necessary for their son. At a later visit, the mother refused HPV immunization when their daughter reached 11 years of age. While leaving the visit, the father pulled me aside to say that he disagreed with his wife's decision and would try to change her mind.

When effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 became available, the father chose to be vaccinated as soon as he became eligible, but the mother did not. She explained that she was not an “anti-vaxxer” but was worried about adverse effects that might appear long after the two-month period covered in the clinical trials on which emergency authorization of these vaccines was based. The day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine for children 12 to 15 years of age, the father asked whether he could bring his children to receive their first doses of this vaccine and the HPV vaccine. Pleasantly surprised, I agreed and asked what had prompted his wife's change of heart. After a long pause, the father said that his wife was being unreasonable and that he would prefer that she not know until after the children had been vaccinated.

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Case scenarios are written to express typical situations that family physicians may encounter; authors remain anonymous. Send scenarios to Materials are edited to retain confidentiality.

This series is coordinated by Caroline Wellbery, MD, associate deputy editor.

A collection of Curbside Consultation published in AFP is available at

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