More and more people are beginning to research and trust the COVID-19 vaccines on their own, but there’s still a large percentage of people, typically referred to as “Anti-Vaxxers” who simply say they won’t ever change their minds. Sure there are your fringe groups out there who believe the vaccines are some part of government control, or even some who believe there’s a tracking chip, but I’m simply referring to the people who are more scared of the vaccine than the disease.  Even with that number shrinking somewhat, it’s still too high. The purpose of this post is to help you talk to a person in your life, help you educate them properly and perhaps even convince them that getting vaccinated is the right thing for them, and more importantly, for others.

It appears in most cases the issue is just simple fear of the vaccine. The majority is really not those fringe groups I mentioned before. If there’s somebody in your life that believes in fringe disinformation or misinformation , there’s really no use in trying to convince those people otherwise. Doing so will more likely create friction in your friendship or in your family and it’s simply not worth it for you or for them. As millions more people become safely vaccinated, these people will learn that there was no huge conspiracy, and we just have to hope that they are not affected by the virus before that happens.

The people you can help and can talk to are your family members and friends who are “on the fence” about getting vaccinated.  It’s likely you’ve already tried to talk to these people but experienced push-back when you try to discuss facts and statistics. Don’t be surprised; that’s actually human nature at work.  Quoting facts can cause the reverse of the effect you are looking for, because it’s likely that the misunderstanding of those facts is what led to the initial trepidation and fear of the vaccine. So how do you talk to someone about it? How do you make them understand how important it is to you and them that they get vaccinated? Easy. You simply understand.

First try asking them why they are hesitant and before you respond, seriously think about their answer and try to put yourself in their shoes. Don’t just simply respond with facts to dispute their hesitation. You will alienate them, and offend them, and you will only work to further yourself from helping them. Instead, try acknowledging their fear or anxiety, and if you can’t feel the empathy behind their reasoning, ask them to be more specific and let them know you’re really trying to understand.

Once you have what you think is a clear understanding of why they feel the way they do, ask them “If there were a magic wand, what would alleviate your concern about that?”  Try to get them to help you understand, not the other way around.  Once you have their reasons, and you understand what their biggest apprehension is, simply ask them if it would be OK if you sent them an email with some information you found. Don’t give them details about facts and stats, just ask if you can send it.  Draft an email or text, and start with “Here’s that info I promised you, I really hope this helps” and then send it and shut up and wait for them to read it. It may take some time, but most people will read it if they trust you. Hopefully what you just did helped create even more trust.

So, I know the next question is, where do I get this info?  Well, to make things easier I’ve pasted some great, non-technical links below you can pass on. You should read these yourself first so you know what you’re sending, but this is concise, clear, and easy to follow.

https://wi-bpdd.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/COVID-19-Vaccine-Booklet-F.pdf

https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2021/feb/5-tips-for-handling-covid-19-vaccine-anxiety/

https://www.henryford.com/blog/2020/12/vaccine-myths