Coronavirus

5 tips for having a productive conversation about the coronavirus vaccine

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Vaccines can be a hot-button issue, especially between friends and family.

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This year (or perhaps next), we’ll face a new challenge in vaccine resistance: Hesitance to receive a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, which has caused the Covid-19 pandemic.

Inverse spoke with social science and psychology experts about how to talk about the Covid-19 vaccine with a hesitant person in a productive way. Here are 5 tips.

1. Emphasize how normal getting a vaccine is. Refer to other family or friends who say they’ll get the vaccine. Hesitant people might trust those in their community more than an outsider.

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2. The right messenger is key. If you and the hesitant person disagree on major issues, you might not be the right messenger. It’s important to find some common ground, whether those are political or social values.

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3. If you’re going for the fact-based argument, make sure you actually listen to the person’s concerns rather than just blanketing them with facts. Are they worried about side effects? About the speed of vaccine development? Address their concerns specifically.

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4. Keep it simple. You don’t need to discuss the 100 plus potential coronavirus vaccines. Identify the most important facts that are most pertinent to the hesitant person’s concerns.

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5. Pick your battles. In the end, you can’t always change someone’s mind. And remember that the statistics are on your side — most people, globally, get vaccines.

Read a deep dive on talking vaccines here.

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