Let’s Talk Vaccines

Scott Krugman, MD, MS

Fam Med. 2020;52(8):601-601.

DOI: 10.22454/FamMed.2020.871743

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Book Title: Let’s Talk Vaccines

Author: Gretchen LaSalle, MD

Publication Information: Philadelphia, Wolters Kluwer, 2020, 255 pp., $49.99, paperback


If you are a primary care physician who cares for children, you have likely faced a situation in which parents have refused to vaccinate their child. If you haven’t, you must live in a wonderful community with no internet access. For many family physicians, pediatricians, and advanced practice clinicians, assuaging parental fears about vaccines can be a daily experience. Due to the effectiveness of vaccines over the past 5 decades, the prevalence of vaccine-preventable diseases has plummeted to a point where most parents have never seen a case of chicken pox, measles, or Hib meningitis. As such, the fear balance has shifted from being afraid of the diseases, to being afraid of having their child injured by a vaccine. With a steady stream of vocal, well-financed antivaccine activists online, and the bubble of promoted misinformation by social media, it is not surprising that physicians are spending a lot of time responding to questions from anxious parents.

Fortunately, a new book written by family physician Gretchen LaSalle, MD, Let’s Talk Vaccines has just been published and should become the go-to resource for the busy clinician facing vaccine hesitancy. In a very accessible writing style, Dr LaSalle breaks down the nuts and bolts of the common vaccine issues and questions and provides simple and factual strategies to counter concerns from parents. After tracing the history of vaccine hesitancy and the common factors that contribute to vaccine hesitancy, Dr LaSalle provides point-counterpoint arguments clinicians can use for almost all vaccine questioning scenarios. Additionally, the book provides in-depth chapters on vaccine safety, vaccine ingredients, a who’s who of antivaccine activists, and the Wakefield study that launched the current antivaccine movement.

The book’s appendices provide additional useful information for the clinician. The first two have clear and simple descriptions and pictures of all the vaccine-preventable illnesses and fast facts about vaccines for patients and staff. Two others provide links to resources like vaccine videos and journal articles addressing vaccine concerns. The final two offer tips on evaluating graphical data and navigating the morass of social media and the internet.

This book should be on the shelf within easy reach for every primary care clinician who vaccinates children. It can be read straight through, or just used as an as-needed reference when particular vaccine questions arise in clinical care. The book is also available online or as an e-book. Every physician needs to be comfortable having difficult vaccine conversations and be able to debunk vaccine myths in the office, online, or in any social gathering. Dr LaSalle’s book is the fastest and easiest way for you to have the facts and strategies you need to be the vaccine advocate our society needs.

Lead Author

Scott Krugman, MD, MS

Affiliations: Herman and Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai, Baltimore, MD

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