Over the summer, Dr. Duane Mitchell just stopped by a restaurant in Gainesville, Florida to enjoy some dinner, just like everyone else there. However, what he did not predict would happen was that he would end up convincing a complete stranger to get vaccinated by the end of his meal while also finding a new friend as a result of their conversation!
Mitchell, who is also the University of Florida’s Clinical Translational Science Institute director, took a seat at the place’s bar, right next to someone by the name of Mark Hall.
The two men began having a chat and one thing led to another, they started talking about the pandemic and vaccinations as well!
Dr. Mitchell learned that Hall’s wife had received her shot but that the man himself was actually against the jab.
During an interview for USA TODAY, Mitchell shared that he “really started rattling off a lot of the things that he had heard, the reasons why he wasn’t planning on taking the vaccine. I debated him a little bit on some of those issues, not in a confrontational way but just saying ‘let me give you a different point of view’ or ‘here’s some information that we’ve certainly learned since the rollout of the vaccine.'”
In a video interview for UF Health, Hall also opened up about his beliefs, explaining that he was critical of the COVID-19 vaccines for a number of reasons, one of them being the conflicting information in the media.
However, the more he talked to Mitchell about it, the more those views changed.
They chatted on the topic for more than three hours, long after having finished their meals.
Hall told USA TODAY that “He would just clarify it and simplify it and make it make sense.”
The man went on to mention that he was afraid that in case the vaccine wasn’t safe, he and his wife would no longer be able to take care of their kid.
“I was looking at, well, if something is bad with the vaccine and she’s vaccinated, unfortunately, maybe it would affect her. But I wouldn’t be affected, so I could still be around for our child. And [Mitchell] said ‘well, if you were going on a family vacation, would you all three take separate cars? Because the probability of you dying in a car crash is much greater than a vaccination.’ And I literally laughed. I was like ‘no, I guess that makes great sense.'”
Just three days after their conversation at the restaurant, Hall called Mitchell asking to schedule a vaccination appointment!
The moment he did receive his shot was captured and shared by UF Health, the clip showing Mitchell looking on as his new friend was getting the jab.
Mitchell stated that “As a medical professional and a researcher, one of our key responsibilities is trying to get information to the public in a way that is meaningful and ideally results in positive change. This pandemic has been a challenge, obviously for the entire society on many levels, but I think it’s challenged us in the health care and health delivery fields to really think about how the public receives information and how we can communicate that information in a way that’s effective.”
Hall went on to say that his chat with Mitchell was a “really genuine back and forth. It’s kind of like talking to your friend after a while. I felt like I knew him. I asked personal questions, and it was comforting. And I trusted him.”