Despite the various attempts to educate people about vaccines and provide them with correct, science-based information, the enthusiasts of vaccination conspiracy theories are not planning to end their anti-vaxx movement anytime soon. Doctors who often encounter these people have a heavy burden of trying to change their ill views. However, success stories are scarce. Probably because it takes unconventional measures to battle their flawed logic and not everyone finds the right way to do so. Luckily, there are still doctors who manage to get through to people who seem not to be able to listen to reason. A Reddit user shared an excellent example of how to do it right. (Facebook cover image: quinnanya)

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On a thread dedicated to sharing the encounters doctors had with anti-vaxxers, one med student under the username _Haliax_ shared a story like no other. While on the rotation with a pediatrician, he met a “conspiracy theory magnet”.

The woman expressed an interest in various conspiracy theories as soon as she met the doctor. So it was not surprising that she was also immersed in the anti-vaxx movement. However, the doctor wasn’t fazed by her rant about the harm vaccines supposedly cause and managed to change her mind with only one sentence. Probably hard to believe it’s possible? Read the whole story below to find out what he said.

“4th-year med student reporting in.

Had a rotation with a pediatrician where we ended up in the classic encounter with an anti-vaccination parent.

This lady was a conspiracy theory magnet. She casually mentioned everything from 9/11 to chemtrails. Of course, she loved the idea of the vaccine conspiracy as well, opting to not protect her one year old to stick it to big pharma.


I relayed all of this to my attending after my exam (I would see the patient first, gather history and do my exam to present to my attending physician). He got this sort of lazy smirk on his face that screamed: “watch this”.

We go back into the exam room and we cover all of the important bits of a well-child encounter. Growth charts, behavioral milestones, nutrition, sleep…

And then we get to vaccines. She lists approximately 15 reasons why vaccines are more dangerous than the disease they protect against (lol) in addition to the various evils of the pharmaceutical industry.

My attending listens quietly until she’s done with her soapbox (about one eternity later), and then interjects with:

“Have you considered the possibility that anti-vaccine propaganda could be an attempt by the Russians or the Chinese to weaken the health of the United States population?”

In a moment of catastrophic cognitive dissonance, I swear I heard a strange popping noise as her brain misfired. It actually broke her. The allure of the increasingly ridiculous conspiracy theory was just too strong.

She ended up agreeing to a modified vaccine schedule. I was flabbergasted. My attending just grinned at me in response. To this day I’m not sure the medical ethics of the situation are totally palatable, but goddamn the result was amazing.”

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