The Vaccine Dilemma


In this short poem, a physician processes the dilemma of caring for patients who won’t take advice when it comes to vaccination.

Fam Pract Manag. 2022 Jan-Feb;29(1):36A.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial relationships.

Patients I have known for many years

Have treated them and their families

We have bonded in what is a true "patient-doctor" relationship

Here is my dilemma —

I have asked myself often

How should I feel when my patients say they will not get the vaccine?

I pause to think

I feel helplessness

I feel frustration

I do not feel anger or dislike

I tell them my thoughts and evidence-based belief

I try my best to convince them

And then … I let it go ...

As I drive home

A thought stays with me:

Do I stop feeling affection for the patient?

No! I cannot do that

I am sure my colleagues feel this way

We are all helpless

We have no solution

Just want these difficult days to pass.


Dr. Jain is an associate professor for Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida and is director of global health in the Department of Family Medicine at Lehigh Valley Family Medicine Residency in Allentown, Pa.

Author disclosure: no relevant financial relationships.


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