Unsure about vaccination? Ask your doctor!
March 18, 2021
“On an individual level, good communication from physicians can boost faith in vaccines.”—ENT Today. In this recent article about the COVID-19 vaccine in ENT Today, John "Caleb" Simmons, MD, Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) at ARC South 1st Specialty and Pediatrics, shared his insight into this topic.
At the time of this article, Dr. Simmons said he does not bring up the COVID-19 vaccines with patients due to the lack of availability—although he will when availability improves—but he does discuss the vaccine with patients when appropriate or when asked.
When a patient initiates a discussion about vaccines, he said, they’re usually doing so in good faith and are truly interested in his opinion. When a patient expresses doubt, he asks why they feel that way and about their sources of information, letting them share their viewpoints.
“I usually lead the discussion by Socratic method, asking them why they believe one part of the evidence over another, why they believe one source over another,” Dr. Simmons said. “My main goal is to get them to examine how they’re thinking and to challenge their assumptions, and I’m listening for any personal stories that they share.
“Finally, I mention what I’ve been reading and how in the process of making these vaccines we’re building on the foundations of what’s been done before,” he said. “I communicate that the safety of the vaccine is high in many large studies, and that the studies show that they’re helpful in protecting families and communities and keeping us all healthy.”
When it comes to vaccines, Dr. Simmons said there are thorny issues that, in the end, will be difficult to resolve, especially since so much political division has evolved from COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean physicians shouldn’t try.
“I think we have to acknowledge political, cultural, and religious reasons patients have for not getting the vaccine,” he said. “I’m not always sure what to do, but I think we can listen and see if we can help the patient find a way to the vaccines,” he said. “Sometimes, we have to help patients navigate familial relationships and religious implications. That might mean simply helping patients keep the end goal in mind: We all want our families to be healthy and safe, and we want a healthy country to share.”
Read the full article here.
To make an appointment with Dr. Simmons, call 512-443-1311 or make an appointment online.