Mr. Schmitz, you are the specialist in child and adolescent medicine and working at the Charité hospital in Berlin. When was your last vaccination?
That was five years ago, when our company doctor – a booster vaccination against diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio and whooping cough.
You can also every year a flu shot?
I do. For two reasons: I’m very sensitive to patients and needs me to protect myself, to protect my patients. And, not least, I would be out with the flu for up to two weeks. If it hits the same time, a number of colleagues at the Station, it would lead to bottlenecks in clinic operation.
Dr. Thomas Schmitz is a specialist in child and adolescent medicine, and a Neonatologist. He is the father of two sons and works as a senior physician, scientist, and Professor in the clinic for neonatology at the Charité hospital in Berlin.
On the topic of Vaccination has been recently discussed a lot, there is a impfskeptischer movie even appeared. Together they have written with a journalist, a book is positioned clearly Pro Vaccination. Why?
As a pediatrician, I get many inquiries on the subject, and my impression is that most of the impfskeptischen people are not real opponents. You need instead information and ask questions.
Information needs what? The Standing Committee on vaccination (Stiko) publishes vaccination recommendations, which are always available.
That’s true, but the issue is more complex. The big information gap is explained not least by the enormous success of vaccinations. Many expectant parents today, it is not the diseases against which we vaccinate, for example Polio, so polio, or even measles. I always say: Every person who has experienced an illness themselves or in the family circle, is usually very staunch vaccination supporters.
Did you yourself have to do with Impfgegnern to?
It happens, but very rarely. The proponents are in the vast majority.
How do you deal with advice-resistant patients?
If someone is really fundamentalist, you can’t do much. As a clinic doctor, I can take only limited time influence on the patients, especially the parents. When treatments are rejected, I try to convince. But at some point I have to accept that, and I accordingly set. On the neonatal unit we can, for example, no unvaccinated siblings. The risk of infection for unprotected infants to large.
Such as are unsettled parents, when it comes to Vaccination?
Many people have questions. Personally, I think skepticism on this issue also attached. It is good to collect things and information. Only at some point you should recognize where the value of vaccinations and make a decision. A clear Pro for vaccinations is, in my opinion, no Option.
In your book you write that under the Impfskeptikern many academics are. You would think that educated people would know better. What is the reason?
In a democracy, are accustomed the people to decide things for yourself and to question. This is a very important, healthy posture. And the scepticism on the subject of Vaccination, for example, has led to the Standing Committee on vaccination (Stiko) for vaccination recommendations in Germany, now works much more transparent. Just educated people know that information can sometimes be of the other interests controlled. But who starts in the net or in the impfkritischen counselor-to search for literature to answer on his vaccination, very quickly in the opponents bubble with all of your false information. It is difficult when from skepticism, ideology, and people can’t even more with sound and independent information to change his mind. But again: This only applies to a few people. I made the experience, that is also critical of academics-parents will see someday that all want the Best for your child.
Many patients distrustful of medical advice, but certainly also with the pressure of time in clinics and hospitals. How to bring patients on the broad topic of how to Vaccinate, if only a few minutes for the entire treatment?
I agree with you. Short contact times and frequently changing personnel is not, of course, confidence. The Problem there is in practices as well as in the clinics.
Time pressure versus comprehensive education – that sounds like an impossible task. How to catch you in everyday life?
I’m trying to answer the questions of the patient in rest, I’ll be focused and present. It is important that the patient remember: the doctor is entirely up to you and with undivided attention to your concerns. Due to staff changes in the layer service, it may happen sometimes that the doctor is in the house. Then we move important conversations to a day or two.
A family physician from lower Saxony has recently made headlines because he throws opponents out of his practice. A good solution?
In the case of lower Saxony, I don’t know, but know of pediatricians who have the so-hand. Is that understandable? I think it is. Firstly, because the trust between the doctor and the patient can be shaken when both have fundamentally different opinions on this topic. And on the other – and that is much more important – for the protection of other patients. These Doctors do not want to answer, that a child with measles disease comes to you in the practice and in the waiting room infants, infecting, which can not yet be vaccinated. I understand every doctor is trying to prevent. Measles is a serious disease that can be fatal.
For More, See: “Clear Text: Vaccinate! – Education book for the protection of our health” by Dr. med. Thomas Schmitz and Sven Siebert. Published by HarperCollins.
They are calling for mandatory vaccination?
I believe that a vaccination could be useful because it often happens that parents forget the second vaccination against measles-Mumps-rubella and the child is not sufficiently protected. Likewise, it is important not to let the people with this vaccination alone. In any case, the impression may arise that the other recommended vaccinations are less important than the measles vaccination and omitted could be. It must be about vaccines and infectious diseases informed – best in school or later in the pregnant care. The ways to get people talking, are far from exhausted. And the one may also, even if a vaccination is not neglect.
Are you afraid of actually criticism from the opponents camp?
Before we started Writing the book, I made me thoughts about how much wind we have. I decided to see the optimistic. With hostility on the net, I could live well, but still am glad to have no Twitter or Facebook Account.