Bad Advice: Or Why Celebrities, Politicians and Activists Arent Your Best Source of Health Information

Nursing Book Club

Bad Advice: Or Why Celebrities, Politicians and Activists Arent Your Best Source of Health Information

Fighting anti-vaxxer conspiracy theory with science

By Paul A. Offit, M.D.
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If you’re a public health nerd like me, you’ve probably butted heads with people arguing about the evils of vaccination, usually based on “facts” gleaned from sketchy Internet sites and social media posts. In his new book, Bad Advice, pediatrician Paul A. Offit, M.D., offers an engaging, entertaining rebuttal to “anti-vaxxers” and their dubious science. If you’re a public health nerd like me, you’ve probably butted heads with people arguing about the evils of vaccination, usually based on “facts” gleaned from sketchy Internet sites and social media posts.

In his new book, Bad Advice, pediatrician Paul A. Offit, M.D., offers an engaging, entertaining rebuttal to “anti-vaxxers” and their dubious science. You may already know Offit’s name. He’s a staunch vaccine advocate who has been interviewed by most of the well-known television and radio hosts. The director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Offit also developed and patented RotaTeq, an oral rotavirus vaccine that has prevented thousands of infant hospitalizations.

There’s no doubt about where Offit stands on vaccination issues. As he will tell you, he’s heartily pro anything that will prevent children from getting sick. What’s just as important is that as an educator, he is also eloquent in arguing his position and making the case for vaccination. There’s no doubt about where Offit stands on vaccination issues. As he will tell you, he’s heartily pro anything that will prevent children from getting sick. What’s just as important is that as an educator, he is also eloquent in arguing his position and making the case for vaccination.  We all have relatives or friends with crackpot theories about the danger of immunizations, how to avoid them or why they are bad. Offit has debated many of the big names in the anti-vaccine arena, including an appearance on “Oprah” during which he went toe-to-toe with Jenny McCarthy.

Offit is happy to tell you what he’s learned from those experiences and can readily tell you which debate strategies work and which go down in flames. He has had to develop a thick skin along the way, but he knows his subject well and isn’t about to let any entertainer or politician back him into a corner.Offit is happy to tell you what he’s learned from those experiences and can readily tell you which debate strategies work and which go down in flames. He has had to develop a thick skin along the way, but he knows his subject well and isn’t about to let any entertainer or politician back him into a corner.

What I liked best about this book is that Offit not only thoroughly understands his subject and approaches it scientifically, he also has a sense of humor about it. (Finally — a scientist you can enjoy reading!) He starts the prologue with a joke and the book just gets better and better as it goes along. This book is full of entertaining anecdotes about Stephen Colbert, Rolling Stone magazine and congressional hearings (to name a few), all recounted in a charming, folksy tone. It was a delight to read. 

I almost can’t wait for my next school immunization audit. When a school superintendent tries to tell me that their students don’t need to be immunized if herd immunity really works, I’ll have a solid set of counter-arguments that they can take back to parents. Thank you, Dr. Offit!

Bad Advice: Or Why Celebrities, Politicians and Activists Aren’t Your Best Source of Health Information by Paul A. Offit, M.D. (Columbia University Press, 2018)

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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