Speaking up for vaccination: five minutes with…Peter HotezBMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k5117 (Published 03 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5117
All rapid responses
I am delighted to read Dr Hotez’s views on engagement.
Let us take it in two parts:
1. Engagement by individual doctors with individual patients. There was a time when individual doctors engaged with their individual patients. Now they leave it to the nurse to offer the jab. Why? Because the Chief Medical Officer has said, “ the jab is good“ for you.
Am I exaggerating? Am I generalising? Perhaps. But you see the notice even on thePharmacists’ door - You can have your flu jab here.
Does Dr Hotez ask doctors to inquire about possible contraindications?
Does he advise that the patients be INVITED to report to the doctor any side-effects and those reported side-effects be recorded?
Does he advise that the patient’s or the carers’s reports be recorded and the fears of the patient or of the carer be discussed?
2. Engagement by the public health physicians, epidemiologists.
Does he believe that these physicians should DISCUSS their public’s questions, fears?
Here in England, a perusal of the bmj’s Rapid Responses will show to Dr Hotez that the public health experts NEVER answer the questions.
It was not always thus. I have been retired a long time. But, in my time as the public health chap responsible for “imm and vac” in my district, I invariably answered the members of the public, the local councillors, the journalists. I refused to use the help of the official public relations officer. A search of the old local newspapers, records of the bbc journalists, the tv companies will confirm.
(I was not unique. My opposite numbers elsewhere did exactly the same, though they did use the public relations officers more often.)
To sum up: if you ladies and gentlemen in public health want to convince the public, PLEASE talk to YOUR public. Don‘t deliver an oration.
Competing interests: No competing interests