In the last 20 or so years it seems like many celebrities - both reputable and not - have come out with some irrational fear of standard childhood vaccinations. In recent years, this craze has spread to the general public and taken ahold of many of parents with young children.
But what do doctors, nurses, researchers, and other medical professionals have to say? Why are their voices drowned out by the likes of Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, and our illustrious president, Donald J. Trump (who's apparently an expert at everything, trust him)?
Well, a few doctors recently took to Reddit to explain the benefits of vaccinations and how they handle parents who fall for the whole "vaccines cause Autism" camp.
An anesthesiologist from Southern California explains that he treats more children who aren't fully vaccinated more than he would like to admit. He usually talks to the parents of those children about the following:
"I start with the fact that as an anesthesiologist, vaccinations have no effect at all on my compensation, and that I vaccinated my own kid.
I then mention the evidence. This usually doesn't help at all.
Then, and most importantly, I offer that, for the sake of argument, let's assume that vaccines do cause autism in a small fraction of kids (I believe this is in-line with what the anti-vaxxers think). I tell them that I would still have my kid vaccinated due to the consequences of leaving kids unprotected.
Finally, I finish with media: I have pictures and video on my phone of smallpox, whooping cough, rubella etc. and a graph of childhood survival from 1800 to 2015. I end with a picture of a 2-year-old I treated in the pediatric ICU who almost died of a measles infection (with family permission of course). She was attached to all kinds of lines and tubes."
A pediatrician takes a more conversational approach in an attempt to learn why the parents wouldn't vaccinate their children and risk spreading communicable diseases to their siblings, friends, schoolmates, and the general public:
"I start by discussing their reasons for not vaccinating. I proceed to explain to them the truth behind their misconceptions (chemicals, Autism, immunodeficiencies, etc). And then I give them a folder to peruse that explains all the diseases they are putting their child at risk for. I explain each disease in depth. Usually, I get them somewhere between steps 1, 2, or 3. But occasionally they continue to refuse.
We then have a discussion that though they are choosing to refuse vaccination, they will not be excused from our practice (I work at an FQHC so I don't have the option to kick them out). However, they will be required to use a special waiting room if their child is sick and we will talk about vaccines at every single visit, going through the same spiel every single time."
Lastly, there's one medical professional who after having no luck trying to convince parents that they are putting their children and other children at risk by not getting vaccinated, decided to just start publicly shaming these people.
"I've engaged people in a patient care scenario as well as in private life (at my kids' schools, social events, etc). I honestly don't think I've ever been successful at convincing anyone. I'm completely serious. I've cited evidence, pointed out vaccinating my own children, pointed out logical fallacies, etc. Zero success. The conspiracy belief is so great it's damn tough to penetrate. What I have done is interjected myself into conversations where a parent is trying to feed another parent lies about medicine and science before any seeds can be planted. I also don't have a problem shaming anti-vaxxers (not professionally but in my personal life). It sounds terrible, but I think anti-vaxxers should be outed and ashamed when they drop their kids off at school, parties, and clubs."
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