Family physician, author, blogger, speaker, physician leader.

Category Archives: Immunizations

Why Immunization Rates Will Fall – We Aren’t Listening

Why is it that illnesses that could be prevented by vaccination are on the rise despite scientific evidence they save lives? Recent articles noted measles exposure to people riding the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) public transportation system as well as more cases of whooping cough due to refusal to vaccinate and in some cases getting “non-medical” personal exemptions. The suggestion that vaccines could cause autism has been debunked. So why is this happening? Will more cases of preventable illnesses make the news? If we look at the research from Frank Luntz, the answer is yes. Frank Luntz would hardly be the right person to ask. Luntz is known for his work, particularly in politics, for polling and interpreting what the American public wants to hear. Luntz has a knack for advising Republican candidates, corporations, and speaking on Fox News and CBS. Though he is a professor at the University […] Read More »



The Truth: Vaccine and Immunization Myths, Busted!

One of the true joys of being a primary care doctor is partnering and educating patients to make the best decision for themselves and their families. Though they may not always agree with what I have to say, at least I know I’ve done my best to give them the information they need to be informed. What follows are common conversations I have with patients. The bolded statements are what a few patients say when they first decline getting vaccinated. What reasons have you heard? Your immune system is weaker from the vaccine. Toughen the immune system naturally. A vaccination is simply a dress rehearsal for the immune system to get ready for the real thing. Think of your immune system as a meek and quiet understudy for a major Broadway play. She practices her lines and movements in dress rehearsal. She may never be called upon to perform. If […] Read More »



Why Vaccines and Immunizations Matter – Don’t Forget History

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Most of us have not had personal experience with illnesses like measles, mumps, German measles, or polio. Thank goodness for that. It is because a generation ago individuals, families, and doctors choose a different path. They witnessed loved ones stricken with these diseases. When the opportunity arose to protect themselves from these viruses in the form of vaccinations, they took them.   Before the measles vaccine, annually there were about 450,000 cases of measles. About 450 people died. Imagine having a loved one die of measles. Since the licensing of the vaccine in 1963, the number of cases has dropped by 98 percent! Today small outbreaks still occur primarily in communities that declined the measles vaccine, among high school and college students who were inadequately immunized, or among travelers visiting countries, typically developing countries, where the illness is still common.   […] Read More »

The Truth About The Flu Vaccine – A Tale of Two Patients

When it comes to vaccinations, patients often ask me a couple simple questions. Here are the answers. I’ve gotten my flu shot annually since medical school. Both my children have gotten their vaccinations as scheduled. As a doctor, I understand the scientific reason for vaccinations. Only until recently, during a particularly bad flu season, did I feel and see the amazing protective power of the vaccinations. Her story was fairly typical. A young woman in her 20s was accompanied by her mother. The patient wore an overcoat which covered her pajamas. She curled up on my exam table looking particularly ill. Looking exhausted, she reporting having a high fever at 104 F, profound body aches, and a dry hacking cough. “I feel like I’m dying.” Anytime a young adult is accompanied by her mother, someone is understandably worried. It isn’t the young adult. Despite her youth, she looked quite ill. […] Read More »

Do I Need a Primary Care Doctor? The Quarterback of Your Medical Team.

Assembling the right medical team is important to keeping you healthy and saving money. Besides you, one of the most important people on this team is your regular doctor. For many people, this is their primary care physician (PCP) or primary medical doctor (PMD). A highly trained and well-qualified primary care doctor can advise you on what preventive tests and treatments are truly necessary to stay healthy. If you view your primary care doctor as a person to simply get referrals from to get better care, think again. One health insurance plan focused on having patients see primary care doctors first to help them figure out how to proceed. Without primary care doctors helping patients, 60 percent of the time patients chose the wrong specialist. Selecting the wrong doctor wasn’t the only issue. On average, $1,500 was spent on various tests and diagnostic services visits over an eleven-month period before […] Read More »