March 8th, 2015

Measles Vaccine Videos and the Challenge of Changing Someone’s Mind

measles-cases-by-year jpgI suspect most of you have already been treated to this highly amusing video about the measles outbreak from Jimmy Kimmel — a comedy segment featuring real-life doctors, imagine that. Not your typical late-night comedy show performers, but they forcefully (and obscenely) get their message across.

If you have just returned from a tropical island where the internet connection was iffy, however, here it is for your entertainment:


Probably fewer of you saw this next one, which is quite well done and pretty accurate scientifically. It also differs dramatically in tone:


My question for you: Which one is more likely to change the views of a person with an anti-vaccine stance, and why?

Will the Google video convince a significant number of people to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

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13 Responses to “Measles Vaccine Videos and the Challenge of Changing Someone’s Mind”

  1. I voted for animation but, BOTH together should work synergistically. The tough problem is that they are viewed by believers only. The miscreants are busy staring at anti-vaccine stuff.

  2. Steven says:

    I voted for the animation as well, but not for the reason you mention. I chose it because the narrator has a British accent, and everyone knows that a British accent conveys authority.

  3. Cathy Corman says:

    Of course, I voted for Jimmy Kimmel. Cells? Data? Who are you kidding?

  4. Sanford Kimmel says:

    I voted for Jimmy Kimmel’s ad (No, he is not a relative!). Articles about why parents don’t get their children vaccinated consistently show that there is a group who will not listen to scientific rationale. They may believe there is a government or manufacturer conspiracy, or believe they can prevent their child from becoming ill. For example, people are more afraid of dying from shark attacks than motor vehicle accidents because they perceive that driving is under their control. Although the animated program is scientifically accurate, it does not account for the heuristics involved in how most people think.

  5. Cathie Currie, PhD says:

    Ricardo Gutierrez is correct that both ads are needed for those who may be wavering and wondering which side is correct. Most anti-vaxers are busy bolstering their egocentric beliefs with more anti-vax support.

    Countering anti-vaxers will require a different approach. Find cases that occurred due to lack of vaccination — and show the outcomes: pain and suffering caused to the children and remorse of anti-vax parents. Well . . . remorse might be a stretch for them . . . . maybe just realization.

  6. Dr. D from ID says:

    I sent both out to a broad swath of folks, and while it is early, several have already ‘voted’ for the Kimmel one [I did, because I have a sense of humor, and loved the ‘gluten vs smallpox’ joke, though maybe it would have been better to use influenza or measles with actually-available vaccines…and the real data about the impact on not vaccinating…such as which was in the measles video].
    Very good!

  7. H. Larry Penning, M.D. says:

    Having been born in 1934, before the measles vaccine, I was told I had measles five time. Yep. Hard to distinguish the exanthems and nothing to be done about them anyway back then. Not wanting my grandchildren to take up the cause for returning to those pre-measles vaccine days, I vote for humor as the best approach for the world of today. The animated film is good. Show it to freshman in medical school like was shown Hemo The Magnificent which my grandchildren today enjoy watching over and over. Ask me and I will tell you that my grandchildren are far from the usual and, of course, I’m prejudiced in their behalf. Show the two films to groups of non-medical people. Promise them a free WalMart card if necessary. They are the best group to decide what they want to watch.

  8. Robert Hagberg says:

    i am so frustrated by these anti vaccination mothers that I wish I could refuse them all care. Please, take your kid for a ride in the back of the pickup, let them play on the double yellow line, start their drug and alcohol experience early, encourage them to roam free in the car, and stop coming to my ED because you want antibiotics for their ear infections!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Neither of these will alter a belief system which holds that pharmaceutical companies and doctors are in a conspiracy to make money regardless of the consequences. The viewer might as well sit back and enjoy the humorous skit.
    Climate change deniers and vaccine skeptics typically come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, but they do have one thing in common: they distrust scientists who threaten their belief system and only believe people who reinforce their world view.

  10. RBI says:

    I think the animated one comes just short of bringing home the point. If they had shown how having pre-made antibodies on hand (ala vaccination) could shortcut that dramatic illness and immune decimation they describe, it would have been fabulous. Again, not sure that it would reach the anti-vax community, but certainly what I would have expected when they launched into a detailed step by step process of measles immune responses…

  11. Adam says:

    How about every doctor bring up the vaccination status of the child at every visit until the parents simply vaccinate out of frustration

  12. Bill Monroe RN ACRN says:

    Antivax folks like to consider themselves informed on the issue, and would respond best I believe to the animation. It seems more “scientific”, you know…like Wakefield. Love the humor (humour?)tho.

  13. Maurizio Setti, M.D. says:

    Ridiculous is what antivaxers are, and Kimmel video shows exactly that. Maybe one in twenty or thirty of them will realize it. Instead, no one will ever admit they are so badly informed as to believe to a conspirators’ lesson only made to manipulate ignorant people. Humor will save the world.

HIV Information: Author Paul Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, MD

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NEJM Journal Watch
Infectious Diseases

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