Two Saint Louis University paediatricians, Anthony Scalzo and Ken Haller who lead a Missouri State Medical Association are aiming to raise awareness about the importance of vaccination for children and through this, change the way in which the doctors respond to the fears that the parents have towards vaccination. Anthony Scalzo, M.D., professor of toxicology and paediatrics, and Ken Haller, M.D., associate professor of paediatrics, are the leaders of the campaign. They are the authors of the article, “I’ve Heard Some Things That Scare Me: Responding with Empathy to Parents’ Fears of Vaccinations.” This article was published in Missouri Medicine, the Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association, in the January/February 2012 issue of the journal.
Both Ken Haller and Anthony Scalzo work at the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Centre. They analyse the countless messages that have been posted by the experts, who do not advocate vaccination chiefly because of lack of knowledge and information they have in the various forms of media, and that are available to the parents for their perusal. Haller and Scalzo also explore the science of vaccination at the same Centre. Several doctors who unintentionally scare the parents away from getting their child vaccinated are also a subject of study for Haller and Scalzo.
Both of them have spoken extensively on the importance of getting your children immunized and the fears about the same that the parents generally have. Haller said, “We want to encourage paediatricians to go beyond the science around vaccines – which is unequivocally on our side – and express our own fears about the clear and present danger that these diseases present to babies and young children. Parents and physicians want the same thing – to keep children safe and healthy. But we can only do that if our fears are based in reality.”
In the views of Haller, most of the physicians have never been the best of the advocates when it comes to vaccination. This is because they dismiss the fears that the parents have by telling the parents that they do not take their child’s health seriously and are not doing what is best for their child. This makes the physician untrustworthy in the eyes of the parents as they always think about the benefit of the child and try to take good care of it. Thus, the physicians become villains and the views of those who do not advocate vaccination are what the parents follow.