At the midway point of August, designated as Vaccine Awareness Month by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and just weeks before the start of 2019–2020 flu shot efforts, there’s a renewed push to help clinicians deal with patients who are convinced they “know” that vaccines a) are a conspiracy to make drug companies and doctors rich; b) cause patients to get the illness they’re being vaccinated against; and c) probably cause autism in innocent children. Never mind it’s estimated that more than 57,000 Americans died from flu-related illness during the most recent flu season. In fighting these perceptions, all of which are groundless or disproven by science, clinicians have to fight against the almighty power of the internet, water cooler talk, and peer pressure parents face from friends or family members who are diehard antivaxxers. Some states have already tightened the availability of vaccine exemptions for required immunizations, while others are working on legislation to do the same. The onus will still be on physicians to convince patients that they owe it to themselves and their loved ones to get a flu shot, though. AAP is offering ammunition to help in an Immunization Social Media Toolkit, available for free on its website. It includes advice on using Facebook, Twitter, and other online tools to convey solid educational information on vaccines; memes and videos suitable for patients; and refreshers on approved immunization schedules.
Ammunition to Help Keep Patients Safe from Their Own Deadly Anti-Vax Presumptions