vax-talk-podcast-logoSupport Voices for Vaccines and its podcast by donating here.

Vax Talk is the podcast for people who want to do something about outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases and who understand that knowledge is power. We will discuss the latest news about vaccines and the impact they have on our communities, our families, and our friendships.

Subscribe now at Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, PodBean or Stitcher. You can also listen to these episodes on YouTube and Cast.

And leave a 5-star review!

Episode 53: Health Equity (with Dr. Nate Chomilo)

With the pandemic bringing a bright spotlight on vaccine hesitancy, people are under the impression that confidence varies by race and background. Why would that be, and how is it related to health equity? And what is health equity anyhow?

We invited University of Minnesota School of Medicine professor and health equity expert Dr. Nate Chomilo to our podcast to ask him all the questions about health equity we could think of and to drill down about vaccine equity, as well.

Links from the show:
Summer 2021 shirt


Episode 52: Kids and COVID-19 Vaccines (with Patsy Stinchfield)

This week, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted unanimously to recommend the Pfizer vaccine be given to kids ages 12-15.

We invited long-time ACIP member Patsy Stinchfield on the podcast to talk us through how this decision was made and when other age groups might be eligible. We asked her all the questions about risks, benefits, and safety. If you have a question, there’s a good chance she answered it in this podcast!

Links from the show:

Episode 51: Chelsea Clinton on Vaccines and Global Health

Chelsea Clinton comes from a background of public service, so why is she working so hard on global health right now? And why is she willing to take a stand for vaccines? We invited her to Vax Talk to discuss this, and so much more!

Links from this episode:
Disinformation Dozen
Clinton Foundation

Remember to check out the In Fact podcast, hosted by Chelsea Clinton!

Episode 50: Switching Sides on Vaccines

Don’t worry! We aren’t switching sides. Heather Simpson, former anti-vaccine influencer, already switched sides. She took a look at the science and decided she needed to vaccinate herself and her daughter.

This is the audio from a previous Facebook Live event. If you prefer to watch with your eyes and ears, go here.

Episode 49: The Other Dr. Sears on Vaccines

Dr. Peter Sears is the not-famous brother of Dr. Jim and Dr. Bob Sears and a family physician. He is also an strong advocate for on-time immunization, even as his brother Bob is perceived as having close ties with the anti-vaccine world. We invited Dr. Peter to the podcast to talk about alternative schedules, ingredient fears, and vaccine mandates.

Don’t forget to check out our FB chat with Heather Simpson, former anti-vaccine influencer.

Episode 48: Dr. Plotkin on COVID-19 Vaccines and the Path Forward

Millions of people have received a COVID-19 vaccine, which gives us a lot of information about the safety of these vaccines. We asked Dr. Stanley Plotkin, inventor of the rubella vaccine and co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine, to join us to answer our questions and to make some predictions.

Episode 47: Dr. Paul Offit on the New COVID-19 Vaccines

It’s here! The COVID-19 vaccine is going into people’s arms as you read the letters in these show notes. Everyone we know has said, “If Paul Offit says it’s safe to get the vaccine, I will get it.” So we had him on our podcast and asked him that and so much more.

Also, check out Tara Haelle’s piece answering any COVID-19 vaccine question you could possible ask.

Episode 46: Tracking the Anti-Vaccine Movement

The anti-vaccine movement is as old as vaccines, but it has been evolving recently to new leaders who emphasize the autism disinformation campaign less and their own big media empires more. We invited Vaccinate Your Family‘s Erica DeWald to our podcast to discuss where the modern anti-vaccine movement came from and where they are going.

Links from the podcast:

Episode 45: Vaccinate the Heartland!

On October 15, 2020, folks from across the Midwest (and the U.S.) gathered on Zoom to celebrate the good immunization does in the Heartland. We had nearly 20 speakers give quick testimonials about vaccines, from how they protect immunocompromised people to how VPDs have affected their lives. We also invited a U.S. Senator, an Ohio state senator, an IL state representative, and a former White House occupant on to speak to us.

If you would like to watch the full video, it is available here.

Vaccinate the Family’s Midwestern action page.

Episode 44: I Fought the (Anti-Vaccine) Law

Vaccine science is now fairly widely understood in the media and the general public, so where does someone wanting to spread disinformation about vaccines turn? To court. We invited UC Hastings professor of law, Dorit Reiss, to our show to discuss what sorts of lawsuits are being filed, why they are being filed, and how these lawsuits are connected to harassment (both legal and petty) of pro-vaccine advocates. We also discuss a possible emerging medical specialty: time travel vaccines.

Episode 43: Can I Quote You On That?

In this episode celebrating National Immunization Awareness Month, Karen talks to loyal listener Amy and then quizzes her to see if she can spot a fake quote about vaccines versus a real one.

Karen and Nathan also talk about de-platforming, especially the de-platforming of a certain disease from an entire continent!

Links from the episode:

Episode 42: The Big Conspiracy

Often, when we scratch beneath the surface of someone who is anti-vaccine, we find conspiracy theories abound. We are also seeing them grow during the time of COVID. Why are anti-vaxxers prone to conspiratorial thinking and what can we do to turn people toward rational thought, instead?

In this episode, Karen and Nathan discuss these very matters with Dr. Stephan Lewandowski, an expert on the matter from the University of Bristol.

Want to be a guest on Vax Talk? Email us at [email protected] and tell us why.

Links from the episode:

Episode 41: Can We Get Back to Routine Vaccines? Please?

While the world is consumed with justifiable fears of COVID-19, measles, polio, and even diphtheria are finding pathways to resurgence. What is going on with those routine childhood vaccines? Are they really important right now? Karen and Nathan discuss this critical topic and what you can do to make sure we are preventing multiple health crises at once. Remember: we rely on each other.

Links from the show:

Episode 40: COVID19 Vaccines with Dr. Stanley Plotkin

The world’s vaccinologists are racing against time to find a safe, effective vaccine to protect against SARS-CoV-2. We talked to renowned vaccinologist, Dr. Stanley Potkin, about how vaccines are typically developed and what is being done now to make the one vaccine the world desperately wants now.

Links from the episode:
Dr. Boonstra’s Routine Immunization During the Pandemic article.
Undark magazine article

Episode 39: How to Talk COVID-19

A lot of misinformation and disinformation is circulating concerning COVID-19, and people are unsure how to talk to others about the pandemic.

We invited journalist Tara Haelle to talk to us about how to get the best information to your family and friends.

See Tara’s Forbes site for more information.

Episode 38: Coronavirus and the Cervaza for Disease Control

No vaccine for coronavirus exists (yet?), but learning about this newest emerging disease and watching how the epidemic is handled can teach us a lot about public health strategies that include vaccines. So we invited Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, on to talk about coronavirus.

Links from the episode:
Interim CDC Flu Vaccine Effectiveness Estimates
Minnesota Rally
Iowa Immunizes

Episode 37: HPV Vaccine Champion Border Battle

What happens when you bring to HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention champions together? A great conversation about how to encourage parents to start and complete the HPV vaccine series in order to prevent six forms of cancer. For this episode, we brought Minnesota champion Dr. Andrea Singh to talk to Karen and Nathan–the Iowa HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion.

Links from the episode:
Dr. Plotkin videos
WHO conspiracy debunked

Episode 36: Madi’s Influenza Story

Shelle Allen’s healthy, happy daughter, Madi, was 12 years old when she asked to be picked up from a birthday party. They never imagined that what would follow would be a months-long battle with influenza. We invited Shelle, who is the President of Families Fighting Flu, on our podcast to tell Madi’s story.

Nathan and Karen also discussed rebranding anti-vaxxers and the measles outbreak in Samoa.

Links from the episode:
Families Fighting Flu
It’s Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot
Newsletter with Samoa information

Episode 35: Alternative Vaccine Schedules w/ Dr. Offit

More frequently than outright refusing vaccines, parents sometimes ask doctors to give vaccines at a slower rate or with more visits than the CDC recommends. What is behind these requests, and are these “alternative schedules” a good idea? We asked Dr. Paul Offit to explain the science behind vaccine schedules and the dangers of delaying vaccines.

Links from this episode:
John Philip Ryan
The Real Truther Video
The Karnowski Aluminum Study
The Problem with Dr. Bob’s Alternative Schedule
Vaccine Education Center 

Episode 34: Vaccine Hesitancy (recorded live in Seattle)

Nathan and Karen traveled to Seattle for the Washington State Immunization Summit to talk to attendees about vaccine hesitancy! This is the episode we have been waiting to do!

Dorit Reiss’s Doximity shout-out

Episode 33: California’s Vaccine Legislator

Dr. Richard Pan has been a champion for community immunity his entire career, from his beginnings as a resident in Pittsburgh to his work in the California legislation to eliminate non-medical vaccine exemptions. We invited him to the show to give us the broad perspective of the work he has done and the work we all need to do.

Episode 32.4: The Trivia Show!

Melody Butler, of Nurses Who Vaccinate fame, stopped by our studio to challenge Nathan to a game of Vaccine Trivia!

Thank you to our friends at Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for the questions. Play for yourself at their website.

Other sources include
History of Vaccines
HPV and nuns (and a mythical creature)

Episode 32.3: Vaccines, Baseball, and DaVinci! NIAM 2019

Continuing with our NIAM2019 GAME SHOW theme, we invited Keith Law to play Offit, Wakefield, or Dan Brown.

Keith Law is an ESPN contributor, baseball expert, author, and vaccine enthusiast, making him the perfect person to compete against Nathan in identifying the author of various book excerpts.

Episode 32.2: Troll or Be Trolled! NIAM 2019

You first met him on Facebook when he pretended to be customer service for Large Retail Store. Because he has also satirized the world’s most notorious anti vaccine activists, we invited Ben Palmer to play Troll or Be Trolled in celebration of National Immunization Awareness Month. But the only trolling we do is trolling VPDs with our vaccines.

Most of the Tweets can be found at the @Voices4Vaccines handle.

Episode 32.1: Stop the Presses! NIAM 2019

August is the month every year that the U.S. celebrates the good work vaccines do in our community. For NIAM 2019, we have decided to celebrate with Game Show Month!

Our first game is Fact Checker. We invited health journalist Tara Haelle (author of Vaccination Investigation and The Informed Parent) aboard to listen to a media interview with a self-proclaimed vaccine expert rebutting Jon Oliver.

Watch the original Jon Oliver piece.
Watch the full rebuttal video.

Episode 31: Rotary’s Polio Mission

Polio is *this close* to being eradicated, so we invited Rotary International‘s Carol Pandak to the show to discuss their mission to end polio.

In addition, Nathan and Karen discuss Jessica Biel and SB 276 as well as Karen’s Big ACIP adventure, and other methods anti-vaccine activists use to legitimize their cause.

Episode 30: Measles with Dr. Paul Offit

In this episode, Karen and Nathan discuss the latest measles outbreaks with Dr. Paul Offit. He takes us through how these outbreaks behave, what causes them, measles elimination, what measles is actually like, and how we can all work together to prevent future outbreaks.

Links from the show:
Marcia Brady
Bjarke Monsted
New Maine law
Teen who traveled to Romania and brought back measles

Episode 29: National Infant Immunization Week & Measles Outbreaks

In this special NIIW mini-episode, Karen talks to a different Dr. Nathan (Dr. Chomilo) about the 25th anniversary of National Infant Immunization Rates and how the reasons for not vaccinating have changed over the years. They also discuss current measles outbreaks.

Links/sources from the episode:
What is NIIW?
StarTribune editorial
695 measles cases
1989-1991 measles outbreak

Episode 28: Ethan Lindenberger, the Internet, and Teen Advocacy

A few months ago, Ethan Linenberger was just a teenager with a Reddit account. He used that account to find out how to get himself vaccinated, and now he is one of the youngest–and smartest–vaccine advocates around. We talked to him about vaccines, social media, and how teens can engage in this space.

Find Ethan at his website to learn more about what he has done.

Episode 27: Vaccine Updates from ACIP and HELP

Vaccine buzz is buzzier lately, with a new, young advocate traveling to Washington, D.C. to testify about why he got vaccinated after his mother had refused to vaccinate him and with anti-vaccine activists trying to “inundate” the ACIP meeting at the CDC. We will tackle those topics and talk to three special guests about ACIP updates. L.J. Tan discusses with us the latest flu data, Lori Boyle talks about why nurses need to represent, and Amy Pisani talks HPV and PCV.

Links from the episode:
HELP testimony
ACIP public comments

Episode 26: Vaccine Court, Autism, and a New Conspiracy Theory

It’s been more than a decade since a U.S. court, in an omnibus proceeding, found that vaccines do not cause autism, but that finding has sparked a new conspiracy theory, thanks in part to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. We invited vaccine law expert Dorit Reiss to our show to discuss with her how this new conspiracy theory does not hold up to scrutiny.

Episode 25: HPV Vaccines and How We Decide

The HPV Vaccine seems to have a special place–not as a cancer-preventing tool but as something people sometimes fear. But when the science is clear that this vaccine is safe and needed, why do some refuse it?

For answers, we talk to Dr. Noel Brewer, a health behavior expert and chair of the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable.

Links from the episode:
Guardian Facebook article

Episode  24: The One About Influenza w/ Dr. LJ Tan

Do you get your flu shot? Does everyone you know get one, too? We invited Dr. LJ Tan to talk to us about last year’s flu season, this year’s flu forecast, flu vaccine uptake, and Riverdale.

Links from this episode:
Wonder Woman Vaccinates
Parent(hetical) Science Podcast
Ideas Start Here Podcast

Episode 23: Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism

Dr. Peter Hotez is a pediatrician, a vaccinologist, and a parent of Rachel, who is autistic. His new book, Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism, leaves no wiggle room for doubt about whether or not he embraces scientific consensus concerning vaccines.

In this episode, we talked to Dr. Hotez about his book, about his daughter, about why vaccines cannot cause autism, and about the anti-vaccine movement.

Links from the episode
Merck/rotavirus article
Dr. Offit at the NPC

We ask all of our listeners to purchase this book and then donate it to their pediatrician’s office!

Episode 22: Measles Eradication and Elimination

If measles has been eliminated from North America, what’s up with these outbreaks? Is it even possible to get rid of it globally and for good? We invited CDC’s Dr. Mark Papania and Dr. Manisha Patel to answer all of our measles eradication questions.

This episode was sponsored by the Task Force for Global Health in honor of Dr. Samuel Katz and Dr. Walter Orenstein, both of whom have played critical roles in eliminating measles.

Episode 21: Anti-Vaccine Nurses

A PICU nurse contemplates swabbing a measles patients to infect her own child. A nurse practitioner makes a video about how to school pediatricians on vaccines. What is a pro-vaccine advocate to do? We invited Nurses Who Vaccinate’s Melody Butler to discuss all things anti-vaccine nurses.

Links from the show:
Nurses Who Vaccinate
CDC Pink Book Webinar
CHOP webinar
Anti-Vaccine Nurse video
I Pity The Flu Garb

Episode 20.4: Superman, Cancer, and Vaccines

At age 44, Jason Mendolsohn was diagnosed with Stage IV HPV throat cancer, and now he’s on a mission to convince families to prevent this cancer in their children through immunization.

Links from this episode:
Superman HPV
Russian Bots Study

Episode 20.3: Young Superheroes Protect Herd Immunity (w/Ethan Posard)

Please note: This episode is appropriate for kids of all ages, and we invite everyone to listen.

We don’t give young people enough credit. Being brave and getting their vaccines does a lot of good in the world, so says this week’s guest. Ethan Posard has a film credit and has published a book–and he’s only 17. Meet vaccine advocacy’s most influential young hero in this week’s episode about teens, kids, vaccines, and advocacy.

Episode 20.2: Protecting Our Littles (w/Dr. Bob Jacobson)

New parents have many questions about vaccines. What is the best way to answer those questions and to handle potential vaccine concerns? We talked to Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Bob Jacobson and tapped into his wealth of experience about all things vaccines before age two!

Episode 20.1: All the Pregnant Ladies (w/Heidi Murkoff)

It’s National Immunization Awareness Month, week 1. We are focused on vaccines during pregnancies, the two-for-one that protects both mom and baby.

To talk about this important topic, we invited What to Expect’s Heidi Murkoff to share her expertise and give us all advice about how to reach women during pregnancy and encourage immunization.

Episode 19: Hashtag Vaccines–The Social Media Episode

Echo chambers, Dunning-Kruger, misinformation, and conspiracy theories. These bad parts of social media are what pro-vaccine advocates battle daily and are the subject of this episode. Nathan and Karen talk to Dr. Jen Golbeck, director of the Social Intelligence Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park. (Plus, hear our new intro!)

Wear one of our our NIAM t-shirts and display your photo on our Why I Choose gallery!


Episode 18: Advocacy We Believe In with People We Like

Karen traveled to Atlanta for the National Immunization Conference and met many amazing people, a few of whom are featured in this episode. Nathan talks about the great pro-vaccine advocates we know, and they both discuss why we all advocate and what we can do to create more vaccine confidence.

This episode is sponsored by the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: vaccine.chop.edu/parents

Links mentioned…
Dear Pro-Vaxxers response
Vaccine Confidence Survey

Episode 17: Mamas, don’t let your babies miss NIIW

Nathan and Karen talk to Every Child By Two’s Amy Pisani about how the immunization challenges have changed over the decades and what challenges we face in our work together combatting vaccine-preventable diseases.

Links from the episode:
Every Child By Two/Vaccinate Your Family
Hotez/Caplan article
New Jersey hearing video

Episode 16: What about the dads?

So much of vaccine advocacy is aimed at mothers, but where are the dads in all of this? To find out, Nathan and Karen talked to Dean Masello, writer, comedian, and SAHD. Find him at wokedad.com.

This episode was made possible by a generous donation from Immunization Action Coalition: www.immunize.org.

Episode 15: Parenthetical Science

Karen and Nathan host Dr. Chad Hayes and Natalie Newell from the Parenthetical Science podcast for a rousing discussion about how parenting is harder than it needs to be and how people fall into the neverending woo rabbit hole.

Links from the episode:
Social media/HPV article
Nathan’s Needlephobia video
Parenthetical Science podcast

Episode 14: Ask Dr. Offit

Nathan and Karen talk to Dr. Paul Offit–head of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and all around good guy. Dr. Offit took the time to answer questions our listeners submitted online, covering topics from influenza to pertussis to advocacy.

Episode 13: HPV Cancers, Vaccines, and Cervivors

It’s Cervical Cancer Awareness Month! In this episode, Nathan and Karen talk to Tamika Felder about her battle with HPV-caused cervical cancer and her organization, Cervivor.

Links from this episode:

Bonus Episode: Live at NFID

In November, Nathan and Karen traveled to Bethesda, MD to record a live episode at NFID’s Vaccinology Course. They discussed vaccine messaging with the good people there, and now, as a holiday treat, are sharing it with you.

Watch for more great VAX TALK episodes in 2018, and support our mission.

This episode was made possible through the sponsorship of NFID. Thank you, NFID!

Click to the next page to listen to our first season of podcasts!