The discussion about vaccines rages on for some years now, and yet we are not even close to convincing everybody about the benefits of vaccines. And I think this is because we try to sugar coat things instead of explaining the situation as it is. It is in our nature of humans to be nice, to say things in a way we think they can be accepted more easily by those around us. And although in many instances this is a good and useful thing, in this particular case it is only making the situation worse, because it avoids the reality and tries to invent a false sense of security that is, plain and simple, not there at all…
We will not convince people to vaccinate their children by telling them it is 100% safe, because anybody can google information and find out adverse reactions happen. So by telling people that nothing bad can happen we are simply making them think that we want to deceive them. No, this is not a way to convince parents to vaccinate their children, this is only a way to create more and more adults that believe in the conspiracy theories about how the evil governments want to control us all.
The solution is the truth, as it is almost always better to tell people what to expect and to have them understand the risks and advantages for themselves. So, the next time you want to convince someone that it is better to vaccinate, tell them that yes, there are risks, yes, their child could die from a complication from that vaccine, tell them that things like that happen and you can not anticipate them.
But also tell them what the vaccine does, tell them what vaccines have helped humanity achieve throughout the ages, how many diseases we managed to eradicate through this practice. Tell them why vaccines will be good for the society and, most importantly, what dangers their child will face if they refuse to do it. Tell them how much good they are doing, for the world as a whole and for their son in particular.
And after they have all the information, come at it not from the usual reassuring stupid way, but from reality’s perspective. Tell them that yes, there are some children that die from vaccines, and that risk also applies to their child. But, that is a risk worth taking, from their point of view, from their child’s point of view, and from humanity’s point of view. The good things vaccines bring to the world far outweigh the negative effects they have on a small number of children and we should all be happy to take those risks…
Yes, it may sound cynical, but it is a reality. It’s a numbers game that says that if 2 children die in order to save hundreds of thousands, it is worth it in the end. And yes, it doesn’t matter if it is your child or somebody else’s child, the math is still the same. This is the only reasoning you need to do, because this is the only reasoning that matters. Based on this conclusion, you can be certain you took the right decision and you can be at peace with the fact that you wanted what is best for your child and for the world in general.
So go out there and convince people to vaccinate, but use logic instead of emotion. Though decisions should never be taken emotionally. And, if the unthinkable happens, always remember that a good decision is good, regardless of the outcome.