Issues with patient education re: flu shots

  1. 0
    Hi all,

    I'm having an issue w/patient education concerning the need for flu shots. I'm constantly being told that flu shots are "the devil." "I still get the flu even when I get them." "I've NEVER had the flu and I've NEVER had a shot!"

    blah blah.

    I've explained all of the proven data concerning epidemiology, the disease process (which many, many people are very uneducated about), the immune response and the purpose and action of vaccinations... etc.
    To no avail.

    Frankly, I'm getting irritated with so many people who refuse to be responsible for their community. YES hand washing is critical and the number 1 way to prevent disease. But the vaccines are equally as critical. I've even shared a brief history of polio and asked questions to provoke thought as far as why our population no longer has to deal with the debilitating effects of that disease.

    You can't change people, I respect that. But I'm wondering why I'm seeing SO MANY PEOPLE who absolutely refuse to accept the medical truths associated with vaccines. What am I doing wrong?
  2. 2 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    But I'm wondering why I'm seeing SO MANY PEOPLE who absolutely refuse to accept the medical truths associated with vaccines. What am I doing wrong?

    Nothing.

    People have different reasons for avoiding vaccination. I assume those individuals that respond "I've NEVER had the flu and I've NEVER had a shot!" are older patients. There is some truth that older individuals seem to have built up limited protective immunity to influenza, at least for H1N1. However, older patients are more likely to get sicker and often die if the they are exposed to a novel or reassorted virus and haven't been vaccinated.

    More insidious is the refusal of vaccinations based on erroneous knowledge. Younger people rely on web sources for information. There are science based sites which confirm the efficacy of all of kinds of vaccinations and then there are the anti-vaccination sites that eschew any kind of vaccination. People tend to drift to internet sites that mesh with their world view.

    If you believe in conspiracy theories, that the government is out to get you, steal you brain or your creative juices, you will see vaccinations as a world wide plot for social domination. If you are a rational human being that can follow logical reasoning and understand the scientific method, you will recognize the value of vaccinations to protect yourself and your loved ones.

    Right now its seems that the conspiracy theorists are dominating the war of truth versus fiction. Take a look at the threads in this forum about vaccinations and you will see that even health care professionals are not immune to having bouts of non-science thinking bordering on religious zealotry.
  4. 0
    Nothing. But realize some individuals have had a bad experience. I worked in a Pedi office years ago.

    We were encourage to get the flu shot. And all of the staff did. Many of the nurses (myself included) and
    the business staff felt ill for many months after. We all had complaints which were common. We caught more fevers and illness as well.
    Our MD notified the CDC.

    I have since received the flu shot with no issue, clueless as to why that batch years ago caused problems.
    But it was a scary experience.
    Last edit by jahra on Dec 22, '10


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