April 1, 2024

Infectious IDeas podcast series with multiple guests

April Fool’s Day is a perfect time to bust some public health myths. Episodes of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) podcast, Infectious IDeas, end with the provocative question, “What myth would you most like to bust?” Read on for responses from recent thought-provoking guests … 

From Early Days Farming to Pandemic Preparedness with Barney S. Graham, MD, PhDGenerosity as a Career Strategy: Barney S. Graham, MD, PhD

One of the great myths as people go through a career is that sharing and being generous with your resources, credit, and know-how will somehow harm you. What I have found in my career is that I often receive more credit, the more I try to give credit away. It is a surprising, non-intuitive phenomenon, but  I would encourage people to be generous with the way they share resources and knowledge.

From HIV/AIDs to COVID-19: Insights and Predictions with Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPHVaccine Safety: Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH

There are myths about vaccine safety that I don’t want to repeat. We need to acknowledge that there are very rare but important side effects from vaccines. We have the largest vaccine safety system in the world that can find these needles in haystacks. We need to be aware of them. We need to be concrete and honest, and we need to tell people what we know. But it’s critically important to recognize that vaccines have undergone incredible safety and efficacy studies and that they are overwhelmingly beneficial.

A Career Dedicated to Protecting Pregnant Mothers and Infants with Carol J. Baker, MD

Natural Infection Versus Vaccination: Carol J. Baker, MD

Natural infection certainly does build immunity. But while you’re building immunity, depending on the situation, you may die, or you may have a complication which is terrible.

Operation Warp Speed: Transforming Disease Prevention with Peter Marks, MD, PhD

Healthy People and Vaccines: Peter Marks, MD, PhD

Here is the myth: I’m young and healthy, so I don’t need to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or flu. The truth is, although the likelihood is low that you could be hospitalized or die from one of these infections, the possibility does exist. Why take any chances when there are such highly safe preventive measures that one can take?

Building Global Vaccine Confidence Through Diplomacy with Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD

Debating Science: Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD

The myth I’d like to dispel is that science is something that is up for debate. That’s not how we do science. You debate 18th century enlightenment philosophy. You debate politics. But science is not something typically achieved through debate. It is hard-slogging work. And I can’t think of too many examples where science was advanced through debate.

Building Trust Through Transparency with Mandy K. Cohen, MD, MPHWhat Is Public Health? Mandy K. Cohen, MD, MPH

Public health is  more than just a  response to a respiratory virus. Public health is ensuring pregnant moms have the resources they need to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy delivery. It’s supporting our states to make sure that folks in every community are living their most abundant and purposeful life. It’s making sure that we are not seeing early deaths or early morbidity. We want folks to be living those full lives of abundance and purpose. And that is what public health is meant to do—it’s not just protect you from infectious disease, but really make sure this country is healthy for the long term.

Pandemics, Prevention, and Progress with Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Wearing Masks: Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Another myth is whether or not masks work. Nothing is going to work perfectly. But it’s quite clear that when people wear masks, they’re less likely to spread or get infected by different germs. And the tighter the mask fits, the higher quality mask, the more effective that will be. I think these myths are really important to address because unless we come to better terms with this as a society, we’re going to be less well-prepared for the next health threat that we face.

Cracking the Code: Health Communication Insights with Céline Gounder, MD, ScM Flu Vaccines: Céline Gounder, MD, ScM

What is the myth that I would most like to bust? … Off the top of my head that the flu vaccine gives you the flu … You heard it here. It does not. It does not!


Downloaded nearly 7,500 times in more than 50 countries, Infectious IDeas features inspiring leaders and pioneers in the field. Episodes drop on the 1st Wednesday of each month …

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