How Physicians Can Improve Public Perception of Vaccines
Written by Joshua Kleinstreuer
IN A NUTSHELL:
- Large amounts of misinformation concerning vaccines
- Primarily disseminated via social media
- Physicians can offer expertise, enter discussion
Though evidence shows vaccines are safe and successful in the prevention or elimination of diseases, hesitancy surrounding their use continues to exist in the general public.
Public immunization has made substantial progress over the last few decades. In order to avoid any setbacks, physicians are focusing on how to improve communication concerning vaccines with their patients.
This task has proven to be difficult due to dissemination of vaccine misinformation, primarily on social media. There isn’t an all-encompassing approach to combating misinformation. However, physicians can take certain steps to make an impact.
Dr. Peter Hotez, professor of pediatrics and molecular & virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, offered the following suggestions:
Physicians sometimes fail to realize their ability to advocate on issues related to health in a passionate and authoritative manner, while combating misinformation.
Identify misinformation, enter the discussion
One reason there has been a decrease in vaccinations is an unfounded belief that there is a link between vaccines and autism. Physicians can share their personal stories and expertise in order to counter the anti-vaccine movement.
Dr. Hotez recommends that physicians take the time to learn how to speak to the public in a way that’s not too technical, uses simple direct language, and is easy for anyone to understand.
Information From: The American Medical Association