4 thoughts on “Post final op-eds”

  1. JinChul Cha
    JRNL-380 Writing
    Instructor: Sheila Tefft
    31 May 2015

    Steps towards Healing: An Alternate View of the Anti-Vaccine Movement and Approaches to Counter it

    Dr. Paul Offit has been called many things. As detailed in Wired magazine, he’s been called a terrorist, received death threats, and had mobs calling for his blood. Yet Dr. Paul Offit is not a criminal. He’s a pedestrian who recently wrote the book, Autism’s False Prophets.

    Vaccines have prevented many disease to the point they are considered only a problem in developing countries. But for the first time in decades, these diseases made a comeback.
    On January 2015, measles erupted out in Disneyland for the first time in decades. For all the benefits vaccines provided for us, it’s seems obvious to have children vaccinated. But for anti-vaxxers, these facts are not self-evident.

    Ironically, vaccines have worked incredibly well that most forgot the panic diseases such as measles, rubella and polio gripped the country. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that rubella caused over 12.5 million people were infected, killed around 2,000 babies, and caused 11,000 miscarriages in 1964. Vaccines have removed the fear of these diseases, but in doing so directed much of the fear towards vaccinations. Parents then found an easy outlet for their fears about their children.

    Paradoxically, it’s the excess, not lack, of information that fuels the anti-vaccine movement. In a world unfettered by the physical world, information and rumors spread quickly like a virus. Most anti-vaxxers are not undereducated but tend to be middle to upper class as well.

    The unknown causes of diseases such as autism further frustrates parents. Autism is often devastating for parents and is a source of anguish. Since the causes of autism is still not well known, parents will latch onto any information, regardless if it’s true or not, about autism.

    Though there is no evidence linking vaccines to autism or to any mental illnesses, former doctor Andrew Wakefield and his coworkers released a false study suggesting as such. In an investigative report by Brian Beer, Wakefield was payrolled to manufacture all the evidence and symptoms for a lawsuit.

    All parents, both vaxxers and anti-vaxxers, want to do the best for their children. When something goes wrong, parents feel helpless. Parents want the autonomy to help their children. As a result, they are vulnerable to misinformation and manipulation.

    Convincing anti-vaxxer parents involves more than incessantly arguing with them. Sprouting facts and statistics at these parents will do nothing; people are perfectly capable of finding information and will ignore anything that doesn’t suit their views. Humans are not rational beings; we use intuition and emotions to guide us. Seeing this, the anti-vaccine movement leaders often use ethos in their argument to manipulate parents.

    As Amy Wallace stated in Wired Science, “Science loses ground to pseudo-science because the latter seems to offer more comfort.” Many parents feel frustrated because they feel like they are losing autonomy and control of their children’s health.

    One example shown in The Guardian is Tanya Gottesburen. She is a mother of three who doesn’t vaccinate her children and she voiced her concern over the number of vaccines her children have to take. In article, she frequently specified how she felt like she was “bullied” by others to have her children vaccinate.

    The feeling of loss of control over their children and their sense of being bullied show that there is a gap between the scientific community and parents. Parents do not care for statistics or facts; rather, they want reassurances and security.

    The current efforts to counter the anti-vaccine movement, as well intentioned as it is, is not an effective way to convince parents to vaccinate their children. Delivery and how the message is framed is essential. Conformation bias rules the minds of anti-vaxxers. No matter how the much the science of vaccines are tested and validated, anti-vaccine parents will ignore the facts to suit their views. Paradoxically, parents will become defensive and their views will become more extreme if badgered by hostile comments. As David Ropeik, a health communication expert, stated to the press, “When you attack somebody’s values, they get defensive. It triggers an instinctive defensiveness that certainly doesn’t change the mind of the vaccine-hesitant person.” Anti-vaccine parents invariably will feel like this is an attack against their character and their parenthood.

    Rather than arguing with anti-vaccine parents, it is more helpful to shift the focus away from vaccines. Parents want someone to listen to their concerns and frustrations, and by carefully listening instead of lecturing, both the medical and scientific community show that they care. Studies have even suggested that providing more “emotionally compelling content” is a better strategy than of appealing to reason.

    Providing a safe space for parents to ask questions and to voice their frustrations is another crucial step. Many doctors and practitioners refuse to see anti-vaccine patients. This only serves to alienate anti-vaxxers who want the best for their children. They are ultimately even more vulnerable to fraudulent medical claims and alternative medicine; ignored by the greater medical community, they seek help from other sources. One doctor recognize this problem and decided to see anti-vaccine parents and their children. In doing so, she managed to establish a trusting relationship and convinced parents to gradually vaccinate their children in increments.

    The scientific community must focus on motivations and establishing a trusting relationship with parents. Many anti-vaccine parents feel medical decisions are forced on them, which consequently causes them to feel a loss of autonomy. It is only by changing our approach from being reactionary to being proactive that parents’ fears are cured and become free from exploitative tactics of anti-vaccine proponents.

    Works Cited

    Bean, Sandra J. “Emerging and continuing trends in vaccine opposition website content.” Vaccine. 29.10 (2011): 1874-880. ScienceDirect. Elseiver. Web. 24 May 2015. .

    Deer, Brian. “How the Case against the MMR Vaccine Was Fixed.” BMJ (2011): C5347. BMJ. BMJ. Web. 24 May 2015. .

    Eisenstadt, Marnie. “Syracuse’s ‘anti-vaxxers’ Doctor: Does She Have a Better Way to Get Kids Vaccinated?” Syracuse 24 Feb. 2015. Syracuse. Web. 24 May 2015.

    Fox, Maggie. “Don’t Call Them Dumb: Experts on Fighting the Anti-Vaccine Movement.” NBC News. NBC, 23 Apr. 2015. Web. 24 May 2015. .

    Gumbel, Andrew. “Disneyland Measles Outbreak Leaves Many Anti-vaccination Parents Unmoved.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 25 Jan. 2015. Web. 18 May 2015.

    Poland, Gregory A., and Robert M. Jacobson. “Understanding Those Who Do Not Understand: A Brief Review of the Anti-vaccine Movement.” Vaccine 19.17-19, 21 (2001): 2440-445. ScienceDirect. Elseiver. Web. 24 May 2015. .

    Kata, Anna. “Anti-vaccine Activists, Web 2.0, and the Postmodern Paradigm – An Overview of Tactics and Tropes Used Online by the Anti-vaccination Movement.” Vaccine 30.25 (2012): 3778-789. ScienceDirect. Elseiver. Web. 24 May 2015.

    Offit, Paul A. “The Anti-Vaccination Epidemic.” WSJ Opinion. WSJ, 24 Sept. 2014. Web. 18 May 2015.

    Wallace, Amy. “An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endanger Us All.” WIRED. Conde Nast Digital, 19 Oct. 2009. Web. 18 May 2015. .

    Quadri-Sheriff, M., K. S. Hendrix, S. M. Downs, L. A. Sturm, G. D. Zimet, and S. M. E. Finnell. “The Role of Herd Immunity in Parents’ Decision to Vaccinate Children: A Systematic Review.” Pediatrics (2012): 522-30. Print.

    “Vaccines and Immunizations.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 May 2014. Web. 18 May 2015. .

  2. JinChul Cha
    JRNL-380 Writing
    Instructor: Sheila Tefft
    3 June 2015

    Blog 3: Small Things Can Lead To Big Outcomes

    Small things can have big effects. As clique as it sounds, the adage rings true for Ellen Gabler, a journalist from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. From Emory, to the Columbia Journalism School, and then working as an investigative journalist, Gabler shows how one thing can lead to another. In her work, she discovered how a series of mistakes made by lab techs and nurses eventually lead to the deaths of infants.

    Ellen Gabler learned that “low level” violations and slipups eventually lead to major laboratory errors. Sometimes the lab results and reports were incorrect or at other times they arrived too late for physicians to use to diagnose their patients. Interestingly, it’s usually an accumulation of mistakes and errors that lead to infant deaths. Sharon Ehrmeyer, a pathology and laboratory professor in Wisconsin, staunchly said in Gabler’s article that they were not being “comprised by something stupid,” without realizing it’s the small things that lead to inefficiencies in the medical system and bureaucracy. Little things like using expired products for screens, forgetting to chill blood for transfusions, and samples accidently labeled or switched can all be easily done without much forethought.

    In many cases, it was the mindset and attitudes of the employers and the employees that could improve or exacerbate lab procedures. Like what Gabler said in our class conversation, all it took for Arizona to go from the worst to the best laboratory among the states was by bring the issue to head of the department. In weeks, he managed to reform his department to handle all the inefficiencies.

    It’s extremely easy to become careless and indifferent towards one’s work, especially in repetitive settings like a lab. Regardless of good intentions, there needs to be systems and mechanics in place to help prevent these small but fatal mistakes. Simple things such as making a checklist, preparing everything before doing a test, and not spending too much time in the lab to the point of exhaustion can help improving lab results. Ellen Gabler even pointed out that using a different mail carrier, like FedEx, can speed deliveries.

    Above all, taking responsibility will help improve lab results and conditions. People have to be held accountable for their actions, not bailed out with a large settlement. As shown by Gabler, often mistakes are covered up or lawsuits are stopped, taking the limelight away from the people in charge of the labs. Once there is not accountability, there is no incentive to change.

    The need for transparency is also paramount. Issues must be apparent to the public in order to incite a change. For people to actually feel accountable, there must be external, impartial observers. Bias and stubbornness will prevent reforms; companies that don’t hold themselves accountable cannot be expected to monitor and regulate themselves. From a business perspective, being transparent is also beneficial by establishing a trust with customers; people will be more forgiving if companies admit and attempt to fix their shortcomings, rather than covering them up.

    Regardless of how small something may be, we must be mindful our actions since they nevertheless have the power to hurt others. Reforming lab companies and making them transparent are some steps to help prevent these trivial mistakes from harming others.

  3. JinChul Cha
    News Intro (CBS, Disney World, Measles Outbreak)

    Discover411 Podcast (2:55)

    Music Intro (0:06)

    Anchor Lead-in (0:32)
    Recently, an outbreak of measles erupted at Disneyland California, infecting at least 59 people as of January 2015.
    The outbreak of measles is attributed to anti-vaccine parents who refused to vaccinate their children.
    The anti-vaccine movement has gained scorn from the medical profession as cases of preventable diseases increased dramatically over the past decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports school vaccination coverage in 49 states ranges to up to 94.7, though in some communities is it only up to 40 percent.
    Jin Chul (CH-ool) Cha reports on the history of the anti-vaccine movement as well as the role of vaccine in public health.

    Tape Log of Index of Actualities (2:55)

    Dr. Elena Conis
    Emory Medical Historian
    AJ Mitchell
    Emory Yerkes Center Research Specialist

    Kelly Taylor
    Emory Animal Resources

    Natural Sound (0:09)
    News Report, Surgeon General

    Reporter Voicer (0:14)
    Though the anti-vaccine movement may seemed to be a recent trend, the safety of vaccines were questioned long before the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine scare.
    Assistant professor Elena (E-ley-na ) Conis (Co-nas), a historian of US medicine and public health at Emory University, explains the history of the distrust of vaccines.
    Actuality (0:27)
    Dr. Elena Conis
    Emory Medical Historian
    We have a vaccine hesitancy, or a vaccine resistance movement. Anti-vaccination is a term came around in the, or came about rather in the 19th century. A lot more people who are picking and choosing and worrying about some vaccines and not worried about others. Historically, that’s not anti-vaccination, that’s just resistance or hesitancy or skepticism about vaccinations.

    Reporter Voice (0:17)
    Though anti-vaccine proponents, such as former doctor Andrew Wakefield, blamed vaccines as the cause of autism and for other syndromes, evidence linking the two has not been found. The research supporting the claims was later proven to be falsified.
    Research specialist, AJ Mitchell (Mit-chill), at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, says there is no firm evidence linking vaccines to autism.

    Actuality (0:10)
    AJ Mitchell
    Emory Yerkes Center Research Specialist
    To me there’s no firm basis. There’s a paper out contributing almost anything to autism. So saying a vaccine can cause is just another thing on their flip in. So as far as IBS or other syndromes I think there’s an accumulation of things.

    Reporter Voice (0:11)
    Mitchell later says the benefits of being vaccinated greatly outweighs both imaginary and possible risks. Vaccinated individuals, such as Kelly Taylor, says the lack of education and proper research are the primary issues in the movement.
    Actuality (0:05)
    Kelly Taylor
    Emory Animal Resources, Individual’s Views on Vaccines
    I think it is educational issue. I think a lot of it is speculation.

    Reporter Voice (0:11)
    Many believe the lack of education fuels the anti-vaccine movement, yet most vaccine hesitant parents tend to come from fairly educated, middle to upper classes. Conis says history and other factors also come into play.

    Actuality (0:26)
    Dr. Elena Conis
    Emory Medical Historian

    Sometimes it can be hard for education to change people’s beliefs and values… Measles and mumps, for instance, in the pre-vaccine era. It’s not true parents weren’t afraid of them. In fact they were considered normal parts of childhood. So in context in their own time, they weren’t always uniformly thought of as deadly killers that had to be prevented at all costs.

    JinChul Cha, Discover411 Podcast

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