12 medical professionals shared their most memorable anti-vaxxer stories and you won't stop face-palming.
It’s one thing to have to see anti-vaxxer posts from people you know on Facebook. But if you’re a doctor that spent the best part of a decade in school studying medicine, and are told by an anti-vaxxer that they know more than you, it has to be infuriating.
A 2015 Pew Research study found that 83% of Americans think the measles vaccine is safe, while 9% think it's not. Another 7% are not sure. But when you look at the polls that include parents of minors, the numbers get worse, 13% believe that the measles vaccine is unsafe.
People hold these views even though there isn’t a shred of evidence that shows vaccinations cause autism. In fact, a recent study of over 650,000 children found there was no link whatsoever.
Reddit user u/ArcaneRuby gave medical professionals a chance to vent about the frustrating times they’ve had to deal with anti-vaxxer patients in a post entitled , “Doctors of Reddit, what are some of your anti-vax parent stories?”
Here are some of the best responses.
1. Whooping Cough
Four year old kid came in with a horrible cough and difficulty breathing. It was almost sure as hell Pertussis aka whooping cough. The kid was coughing so bad he vomited on the exam table. . He went on to ask about vaccinating her kid and of course she replied no even though her son was damn near coughing up his lung right next to her. I think my attending had seen enough and had enough of her not vaccinating her kid and had the following conversation with the kids mom
Attending: Mrs. ____ I have to ask you. Do you trust me with as your sons doctor? Mom: Of course I do Dr. ____ Attending: Well, there’s two problems here that we need to address. One, you either think you are more knowledgeable than me when it comes to medicine, and if that’s the case I should no longer be your sons doctor. Or you don’t trust me as a physician and in that case I shouldn’t be your sons doctor. Mom: blank stare on face Attending: will you please reconsider giving your son a vaccine? Mom: No
My attending obviously treated her kid, but after this whole ordeal resolved he fired her and her son as a patient and referred them to another pediatrician. He had enough of her shit. I respected the hell out of him after he pulled this move.
2. Who's Liable?
In medical school I saw a kiddo whose parents refused vaccines and so when they were given the vaccine refusal form to sign. This form essentially said that the parents understood that refusing vaccines was against medical advice, that their kiddo could get sick from all those preventable diseases, and that the they wouldn’t hold the doctor/practice liable for any complications that the kiddo may get from said preventable diseases. This mom pulled out a sharpie and blacked out the part about the doctor not being held liable. The parents thought that we’d be cool with them just changing that form just for them and they wanted the doctor to be held liable for their moronic choice. Of course this didn’t work and they were told to sign the form or they would be discharged from the practice and have to find another. They refused to sign and were told to leave after given a list of other pediatricians in the area.
3. "I Read on the Internet ..."
Friend of mine is a military OBGYN. Was at a OB appointment with the pregnant dependent and service member. He had just returned from AFG a few months prior.
OB mentions about follow-ups after delivery in 1st year of life, including vaccines.
Wife says: "I read on the internet that vaccines cause autism, I don't think we're going to do that"
Husband says: "I saw a lot of little graves in Afghanistan, sure as shit we are getting our kid vaccinated"
4. Family Guy
I feel like Family Guy said it best. There's an episode where Lois and Peter kidnap this child to get him to a hospital because the parents believe prayer will heal their kid. So Lois eventually has to confront them and says something like "Maybe the vaccines and medicines are God's answer to your prayers. So why keep praying if you're going to wipe your ass with his reply?"
via AMiniMinotaur / Reddit
5. Bruised By a Seat Belt
Had a kid come in for generic upper respiratory virus. Asked mom if he was vaccinated, as is routine. She said no. When I asked why not, her response was "Well my boyfriend was vaccinated and he still got meningitis, so they don't even work"
I told her that's the same as saying your friend got bruised by a seat belt in a car accident, so you don't wear them when you drive.
6. Vaccines are Racist
I had a kid come in that was super sick. 3 years old and in septic shock. He had the flu and another compounded viral infection (I want to say pertussis). Heart rate was close to 200, respiratory rate in the 50s, blood pressure in the 70s. Kid was so fucking dry that we could barely get IVs into him and I almost had to drill an IO. We dumped a ton of fluids into him, started him on vasopressors and transferred him to the local children's hospital.
I had asked the mom if he was vaccinated and she said "No, vaccines have really bad side effects! They'll make you sick." I explained to her that NOT getting the vaccines had made her kid 10 times sicker than he ever would have been from any mild vaccine reaction. She told me I was a fucking moron and that I obviously have no clue what I'm talking and that's the reason her kid was getting transferred.... She also told me that recommending she vaccinate her kids was racist.
via ChaplnGrillSgt / Reddit
7. "Every Doctor Refuses to Treat Me"
I had a mother bring her child to see me as a new patient. When I saw that he wasn’t vaccinated I asked my nurse why not and she told me that the mother had a “religious exemption.” When I entered the room, I asked the mom what the religious exemption was and she said “oh, well when he was a baby he had a rash from the hepatitis B vaccine.” I kindly told her that I couldn’t care for her child because he was not only a risk to my staff, myself but also to other patients in my office.
She went off on me and ranted about “how she can not believe that every doctor’s office that she calls refuses to treat her son because he isn’t vaccinated.” And that “the only doctor in the county that will see him can’t see him for almost 2 months.” I kindly stopped her and said “if I was one of a few that refused to treat your child, i would understand your frustration. But don’t you think there’s a message that not a single doctor in the entire county (save for ONE doctor who did some really questionable practices, think essential oils and stuff) will treat your kid? That maybe there’s a valid reason behind it?
Yeah, she definitely wasn’t happy and left.
8. Will it Make His Autism Worse?
I'm not a doctor, but an RN in public health. I recently had a mother call me to ask me if it was a smart idea for her child should get the MMR vaccine. Why was she asking this? She was worried that would make his autism worse.
9. Secret Vaccination
I'm not a medical doctor but a mental health therapist, went to do a new client intake and while asking the mother about the kid's medical history, vaccination records etc she said he was not vaccinated because vaccines cause autism and she didn't want to risk her son getting it, then when I went to meet the kid within 5 seconds of laying eyes on him I could tell... he was autistic. Worst part was that when I told her she became very upset and started yelling at her husband saying he must have gotten the kid secretly vaccinated and then immediately ran out the house and took the kid to the emergency room for "testing" and just left me and the dad in the living room just kind of staring at eachother. Never answered my calls or texts again after that and I had to get DCF involved.
10. Healthy and Holistic?
Ok ok I am not a doctor BUT I'm pregnant so I see one pretty regularly right now lol it was time for my TDAP booster and I was asking about the MMR booster. My OB asked if we are planning to vaccinate the baby, and I told him that shouldn't even be a question he feels he needs ask any of his patients. So he told me this story about a teenage patient who came in with her mom.
The mom was going on and on about how she teaches her child to live a healthy and holistic lifestyle free of drugs, vaccines, and chemicals. Well turned out the daughter had gotten gonorrhea from her boyfriend despite her healthy and holistic lifestyle. My OB said he felt great seeing the mother's face when he delivered the news lol
11. MMR Suppository
This one time this lady came in for a check up. The child had not been vaccinated yet and I told her she needed to vaccinate him. She said that she didn’t want any needles touching him because she didn’t want him to get autism from the needles. She wanted him to get an ass spray of the vaccine. To this day it left me very confused and I told her we didn’t do that so she left. Maybe an anti-vax but idk anymore.
12. We Were In the Same Class
When I was a med student, I had a parent who wanted to do a ‘delayed vaccination schedule’. Basically it means that you get all the same vaccinations but you pointlessly and foolishly do it over a longer time period. The mom had read a book promoting this practice that was unfortunately written by an MD. My pediatric attending had zero chill: “Is that the book written by Dr ___? Yes? Well, then you should know that I was in the same medical school class as Dr ___ but I got much better scores than he did.”