Even with plenty of proven science-based information (if you believe in science anyway) the anti-vaxx movement continues on with gusto — further confusing other impressionable parents when it comes to vaccinating their children.
Doctors who end up encountering these types of people usually have a difficult time in changing their poorly-informed views.
That being said, success rates are not high.
Thankfully, there are a few doctors who are able to reason with people who can sometimes be blinded by these false theories.
One Reddit user revealed an unconventional but successful example of how to get someone to consider a taste of their own rhetoric.
A med student under the username _Haliax_ revealed a story of epic proportion on a thread dedicated to the encounters doctors have with anti-vaxxers.
While they were on rotation with a pediatrician, they were met with a “conspiracy theory magnet”.
The woman went on to share her (many) views on conspiracy theories as soon as she met the doctor so it came to no one’s surprise when she was transfixed by the anti-vaxx movement.
But this story does not end like most, as the doctor was able to change her mind in just a few words.
We have the whole story below, word for word…
“4th-year med student reporting in.
Had a rotation with a pediatrician where we ended up in the classic encounter with an anti-vaccination parent.”
“This lady was a conspiracy theory magnet. She casually mentioned everything from 9/11 to chemtrails. Of course, she loved the idea of the vaccine conspiracy as well, opting to not protect her one year old to stick it to big pharma.
I relayed all of this to my attending after my exam (I would see the patient first, gather history and do my exam to present to my attending physician). He got this sort of lazy smirk on his face that screamed: “watch this”.
We go back into the exam room and we cover all of the important bits of a well-child encounter. Growth charts, behavioral milestones, nutrition, sleep…”
“And then we get to vaccines. She lists approximately 15 reasons why vaccines are more dangerous than the disease they protect against (lol) in addition to the various evils of the pharmaceutical industry.
My attending listens quietly until she’s done with her soapbox (about one eternity later), and then interjects with:
“Have you considered the possibility that anti-vaccine propaganda could be an attempt by the Russians or the Chinese to weaken the health of the United States population?”
“In a moment of catastrophic cognitive dissonance, I swear I heard a strange popping noise as her brain misfired. It actually broke her. The allure of the increasingly ridiculous conspiracy theory was just too strong.
She ended up agreeing to a modified vaccine schedule. I was flabbergasted. My attending just grinned at me in response. To this day I’m not sure the medical ethics of the situation are totally palatable, but godd*mn the result was amazing.”
Get that doctor into office, STAT!
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