How can you be empathetic when others question science?
With scientific misinformation on the rise, healthcare professionals must hold thoughtful and patient conversations to educate their patients. Listening and validating other’s beliefs are key, allowing attentive communicators to gain empathy for anti-vaxxers and help steer them towards evidence-based medical decisions. A gentle, informed approach can help defeat misinformation and limit the spread of viruses around the world.
Protests Against Vaccines
Receiving vaccines to defeat long-forgotten childhood illnesses remains critical today. While false claims that vaccines lead to other concerns, including autism, have been rebuffed with research, misinformation persists.
Outbreaks of measles, chickenpox, and whooping cough will once again become mainstream if vaccine hesitancy continues. Calls against vaccines must be stopped with empathy, especially as we race to vaccine the world against COVID-19.
Photograph by Sergio Flores for Getty Images
"Those who went on to use Wakefield’s inconclusive work to support the notion that vaccines cause autism are not guilty of ignorance or science denial so much as they are guilty of using weak science as it has always been used — to lend false credibility to an idea that we want to believe for other reasons."
-Eula Biss, On Immunity: An Inoculation
In More Depth: Responding with Empathy
Hoping to learn more how to respond to the anti-vax movement?
In this video, a high school student who grew up with parents against vaccinations shares his story. He explains his desire to become vaccinated as he grew older and pleads for empathy for his parents’ past decisions. His remarks make a compelling case for both the need for vaccination and greater understanding.