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Charting Pediatrics

Dec 12, 2023

Vaccines are so successful that many people have never seen the diseases they prevent, resulting in misperceptions that vaccines are not needed. While anti-vaccination sentiment and misinformation increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, about 88% of Americans still say they feel the overall benefits of childhood vaccines outweigh the risks. Communicating vaccine science to the public is even more crucial than in times past. It’s up to our doctors and medical experts to relay factual information that is backed by science and supported by research. Without receiving proper vaccinations, preventable diseases will keep recurring.

In today’s episode, we are joined by Paul Offit, MD, whose path toward infectious disease prevention started at the young age of 5 when a failed foot operation landed him in a hospital in suburban Baltimore for nearly six weeks. “If you’re in a chronic care facility in the mid 1950s, because I was born in 1951, you’re in a polio ward. So, I remember that, Dr. Offit says.

Now Dr. Offit is a professor of vaccinology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is an attending physician in the division of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as the director of the Vaccine Education Center. “I think the scars of our childhood invariably become the passions of our adulthood. I think it’s the reason I became a doctor, I think it’s the reason my first book was about polio and the polio vaccine, I think it’s why I went into infectious diseases,” Dr. Offit says.

This episode was recorded at the 2023 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Washington, DC. Some highlights from the episode include: 

  • Reasons why people have become so hesitant about vaccines
  • Some of the biggest misconceptions and stigmas around vaccine science
  • Why we need more societal trust in vaccines
  • The role of mRNA
  • How we can use communication to better our future

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