A Missouri State Medical Association, led by two Saint Louis University pediatricians, aims to raise awareness about the importance of getting children vaccinated and change the way in which doctors respond to parents' fears of vaccines. The campaign is the focus point of Ken Haller, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, and Anthony Scalzo, M.D., professor of toxicology and pediatrics, authors of "I've Heard Some Things That Scare Me: Responding With Empathy to Parents' Fears of Vaccinations", that was published in the January/February 2012 edition of Missouri Medicine, the Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association.
Haller and Scalzo, both at the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, explore the science into vaccinations and investigate countless messages parents have read in the media from well-intentioned anti-vaccine advocates who are insufficiently informed, and even from doctors who make parents wary of immunizing their own children.
In the video below, Haller talk about the important of taking parental concerns and fears about vaccines seriously:
Haller declares that physicians have not always been the best advocates in terms of vaccine safety, given that they frequently dismiss parents' fears, accusing them of not caring enough to do the right thing for their child.
He says that it is normal and even good when parents care about their child's welfare. However, until physicians start realizing this, they will not appear trustworthy in the parents' eyes, who then continue to believe those who oppose vaccines.
"We want to encourage pediatricians to go beyond the science around vaccines - which is unequivocally on our side - and express our own fears about the clear and present danger that these diseases present to babies and young children. Parents and physicians want the same thing - to keep children safe and healthy. But we can only do that if our fears are based in reality."
A child receiving a typhoid vaccine at a rural school in San Augustine County, Texas, 1944. Vaccines have saved hundreds of millions of lives over the last century
Written by Petra Rattue