PODCAST: An infectious disease expert responds to vaccine hesitancy

Despite the heavy toll a year-and-a-half of pandemic has taken on us, some individuals still choose not to get vaccinated


Two men stand with a sign at a Sept. 28 protest at the headquarters of the San Diego Unified School District headquarters prior to a meeting during which school board members voted to require eligible children receive a vaccine to attend SDUSD schools. Photo by Jakob McWhinney/City Times Media

Jakob McWhinney, Multimedia Journalist

Part 1

Part 2

The Listening Machine, a call-in show that asks San Diegans for their thoughts on the big issues that face us, released its third and fourth episodes today.

This first season of the show, produced by Jakob McWhinney, asked San Diegans to talk about their experiences living through the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In the third episode, a caller who doesn’t quite buy the COVID-19 pandemic as a whole and is hesitant about getting vaccinated left a voicemail.

“My family… they’re totally buying into the whole thing,” the man said. “I’m not convinced.”

To try and get at some of this caller’s concerns, host Jakob McWhinney spoke with infectious disease and public health expert Dr. Sayone Thihalolipavan about the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine hesitancy, an interview that starts in episode 3 and ends in the fourth episode. 

Thihalolipavan attributed much of the existing vaccine hesitancy to mis-, and dis-information, and argued that individuals need to remember how their personal choices can affect the greater good.

“Regardless of whether or not you were infected with COVID-19, all of our lives, our livelihoods have been affected by COVID-19,” Thihalolipavan said.

“Help us all out,” he added. “Help keep the economy in shape, help us keep people out of hospitals, help us keep more San Diegans from dying by getting vaccinated.”

The next season of The Listening Machine will focus on another pandemic wreaking havoc on San Diego … homelessness. Do you live in San Diego and want to talk about your thoughts or experiences? Leave us a message at (619) 736-8976 or visit TheListeningMachine.com.