From the moment her goal was to practice medicine in the United States, pediatrician Alla Gordina knew she'd have a steadfast rule — she would not accept patients who haven't received their childhood vaccinations.

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During her days in Russia, vaccine-preventable diseases were killing and sickening kids and adults on a routine basis.

"We respect parents' right to refuse immunizations for religious, philosophical or any other reason, but we consider unimmunized children a potential risk for the spread of infectious diseases," her practice's website states.

And that rule has been in place since opening her East Brunswick office in July 1996.

"I don't want my children (I treat) to suffer from diseases that are easily preventable, and I don't want those diseases to be spread in the community," Gordina told New Jersey 101.5.

Gordina will accept patients whose parents can not vaccinate their children for reasons related to medical issues.

According to Gordina, 30 to 40 percent of American pediatricians are not accepting patients without vaccinations.

"We stopped accepting non-vaccinators a year ago — just turned away a newborn today," Dr. Richard Lander, of Livingston, said Wednesday.

"My practice, Summit Medical Group, proudly does not accept non-vaccinators," added Dr. David Levine, of Westfield.

Gordina said parents of un-vaccinated children, when searching for a doctor, typically know to ask offices whether or not they accept all patients.

As part of National Infant Immunization Week, the state Department of Health and local partners are holding events throughout the state to promote the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases.

“The best way to protect infants from 14 serious childhood diseases, like whooping cough and measles, is to make sure they receive recommended immunizations,” Health Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett said in a statement released by the department. “This week serves as a reminder for parents to be sure their child is up-to-date on all recommended vaccines.”

Most of these serious diseases are not common in the United States, the department noted, but outbreaks do occur.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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