Overcoming vaccine hesitancy: It’s all in the phrasing

“We should educate our patients regarding vaccines as we do with other health issues. Our job is not to scare our patients into taking a certain course of action. There is one practice that physicians can adopt to increase vaccination rates. That is to have our language reflect the strength of the evidence regarding vaccine benefits when providing them. Instead of saying, ‘Would you like a flu shot today?’ we can say, ‘You’re due for your flu shot today.’  — Jessica Ridgeway, MD

Ah, it’s the PHRASING that’s keeping me from getting my flu shot! So, if my doctor were to employ a slightly different sentence structure, then that should allay any doubts, fears, or questions I may have about allowing myself to be injected with several different strains of the influenza virus, aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, gelatin, DNA from chicken embryos, and antibiotics? I see. So, by the same logic, if I were to respond by saying, “Hey doc, uh, time for your dip in the lake today,” that would be more effective than, say, “Hey doc, why don’t you go jump in the lake today?” … Ah, the hell with it. Hey doc, go take a flying leap.


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