Monday, June 1, 2015

How to Have the Vaccine Talk

Don’t you just love it when you hear that you can do anything you want if you try hard enough? I know it’s true, because when I hear people say that, I try really hard not to assault them.

But what about when it’s not true, like when I try to act cool around my teenagers? Or when pediatricians try to convince vaccine-hesitant parents to protect their children from disease? Science has spoken, and it says, “Give up.

And talk about trying! The study’s sponsors, the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, selected doctors to receive intensive 45-minute training sessions in talking to parents about vaccine hesitancy. They followed these sessions up with written support, monthly emails, and on-call assistance. That’s not just support, it’s college-freshman-with-helicopter-parent support.

And what was the effect of all this communications training? The trained doctors were exactly as incapable as untrained controls of convincing hesitant parents to vaccinate their children. There was some drop-out from the experimental group, as one of the docs left practice to become an FBI hostage negotiator.

So now what do we do? I don’t know about you, but I’m going to take the time I used to use talking about vaccines to improve my Snapchat game. Then my teenagers will definitely think I’m cool.