If you have been vaccinated, it is likely that you are already confident about the COVID-19 vaccines. You may want to help your friends, family, and loved ones become confident too, especially those who are still unsure about the vaccines. This resource will help you do just that! These tips will help you approach conversations about COVID-19 vaccination with care, empathy, and understanding in order to foster vaccine confidence.
Vaccine hesitancy is a state of being reluctant or unsure about getting a vaccine. Importantly, being hesitant about a vaccine is a state that can change and evolve; it is not a trait that is inherent to the individual. Vaccine hesitancy is also a spectrum; people can be more or less hesitant and can also move along the spectrum. The great thing about vaccine hesitancy is that it is possible to counteract it – by providing the facts about the vaccines and motivating people to get the shot.
Vaccine hesitancy can have many causes. The first and most obvious is the amount of misinformation and disinformation spreading about the vaccine. The second is an individual's experience with the healthcare system. People who have had negative healthcare experiences or whose communities have been harmed by the healthcare (and larger political) system may be justifiably skeptical of health information and vaccines. Thirdly, an individual's personal and cultural understandings of health and healthcare can also impact their perception of vaccines. Finally, access to clear, easy-to-understand information about vaccines is essential to counteracting vaccine hesitancy and promoting vaccine confidence. That’s where you come in! We need people like you sharing why they trust the COVID-19 vaccines and what motivated them to get the shot.
It is important to prioritize empathy and respect when it comes to conversations about vaccines. Each person has unique experiences with health and our healthcare system, which means each person who is currently vaccine hesitant is vaccine hesitant for different reasons. Before you share information, it is important to listen and understand where someone’s skepticism or fear may be coming from.