A nurse preparing a vaccination
A nurse preparing a vaccination
Getty/iStockphoto

Persuading committed anti-vaxxers into protecting their children against harmful diseases is undoubtedly one of the most exasperating tasks faced by modern GPs.

Alarmed by the minor side effects many experience after being injected with a small quantity of a given disease microbe - administered to cultivate the body's immune system against it - anti-vaxxers refuse treatment themselves and risk endangering their kids at a crucial stage of development by denying them the controlled exposure they need to develop an immunity.

When ArcaneRuby posted on Reddit asking doctors for their stories of encounters with patients over the issue, one of the answers she received was particularly superb.

A fourth year US medical student with the handle _Haliax_ replied with a tale about a "conspiracy theory magnet" she had met in a doctor's office.

She casually mentioned everything from 9/11 to chemtrails. Of course, she loved the idea of the vaccine conspiracy as well, opting to not protect her one year old to stick it to Big Pharma.

It was the student's job to interview the mother regarding her child's treatment before she was introduced to the doctor.

We go back into the exam room and we cover all of the important bits of a well-child encounter. Growth charts, behavioural milestones, nutrition, sleep…

And then we get to vaccines. She lists approximately 15 reasons why vaccines are more dangerous than the disease they protect against (lol) in addition to the various evils of the pharmaceutical industry.

The attending physician listened quietly to the woman's fantasies before suddenly interjecting with:

Have you considered the possibility that anti-vaccine propaganda could be an attempt by the Russians or the Chinese to weaken the health of the United States population?

The mother appeared completely floored by the suggestion. Or, as _Haliax_ described it:

In a moment of catastrophic cognitive dissonance, I swear I heard a strange popping noise as her brain misfired. It actually broke her.

Totally persuaded by such cunning deployment of reverse psychology, the parent eventually agreed to a modified vaccine schedule.

The narrator concludes by saying:

To this day I’m not sure the medical ethics of the situation are totally palatable, but goddamn the result was amazing!

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