How to Talk with Family and Friends about Getting Vaccinated for COVID-19
04 October 2021
More than 167 million Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, apprehension about the vaccines, including effectiveness and long-term effects, remains a top concern for millions of Americans.
If you have a friend or family member who is unvaccinated for COVID-19, you may be worried about their health and well-being should they contract the virus. You may also be concerned that they might spread the virus to others. So, what can you do?
Have a Conversation
Dialogue is important. Let your family or friend know you’re concerned about their health and well-being as well as that of those around them. Seek to understand the reason(s) they’ve chosen to remain unvaccinated to date. Inquire about any feelings of hesitancy, and actively listen to their position on the topic. You may be able to help alleviate some concerns, offer reassurance and/or a different perspective, and/or direct them to reliable sources of information that can such as their primary care provider.
Help Address Misinformation
Social media has been a leading source of misinformation on the vaccines. If a family or friend is citing sources that are proven inaccurate and/or misleading, offer to vet the information together.
Encourage the use of resources available that contain factual, evidence-based information on the vaccines. Both the CDC.gov and FDA.gov websites have the latest, evidence-based information on the vaccines and COVID-19 guidelines. Additionally, ProvidenceHealthPlan.com/covid19 has factual COVID-19 resources, including answers to frequently asked questions about the vaccines.
Share Your Story
While those close to you may not have the same opinion as you, they likely still value your thoughts. Sharing why you chose to get vaccinated may provide a perspective they had not yet considered. Whether you got vaccinated to keep yourself safe, to protect those who are not yet eligible for the vaccine such as children, to feel more comfortable in group settings or with the hope of getting back to “normal,” your reasoning may resonate with others and help encourage them to get vaccinated as well.
Offer Ongoing Support
Allow family and friends time to process everything you discussed and respect that their opinion on the topic may not change overnight or at all. Continue to show your family member or friend that you care about them and that you want them to stay healthy. Remain a constant source of open communication and support.
If they do make the decision to get vaccinated, you may want to continue to offer encouragement throughout the vaccination process. There are many ways to offer both physical and emotional support to help keep the situation as stress-free as possible. Whether that includes offering to take them to and from their vaccine appointments, providing childcare, or checking in to see how they are feeling, small acts go a long way to show that you’re there for them.
Practice Health and Safety Measures
Regardless of vaccination status, individuals should continue to take safety precautions around others. Recommended measures may change over time; however, may include wearing a mask when around others (whether vaccinated or not), enjoying outdoor activities, and practicing social distancing. Of course, anyone who is feeling ill should quarantine if they believe they may have contracted COVID-19.