A: Personal beliefs and experiences inform varying levels of acceptance of the Covid-19 vaccine now becoming available to essential workers in healthcare settings. Listen to the reasons for concern, respond with compassion and facts, and make it easy to take actionable steps forward.
REALLY LISTEN. Not all vaccine hesitancy stems from the same concerns. Creating opportunities for conversation about the vaccine with colleagues allows essential dialogue to take place. Each person brings unique perspective to this conversation. Start a conversation, even just one, and listen fully. Start with conversations within networks where trust is already established. Meaningful next steps must rest on a foundation of shared understanding and respect.
RESPOND WITH COMPASSION AND FACTS. Spend time listening and educating yourself. Facts in the absence of a shared understanding often get lost. Once a shared understanding is established, facts have context that make them relatable. When misinformation presents itself, respectfully debunk with a truth sandwich – start with the truth, identify the falsehood by name, restate the truth.
Truth sandwich example:
Person 1 – “I don’t want the Covid-19 vaccine because the side effects of the vaccine are worse than the actual disease.”
Person 2 – “The Covid-19 vaccination can cause temporary symptoms as your immune system is activated like pain at the injection site and body aches (FACT). The effects of Covid-19 infection are not mild or temporary for millions of people and thousands have died. (NAME THE FALLACY). Temporary discomfort following the two doses of the vaccine resolve in a few days and your risk of developing Covid-19 disease is greatly reduced (FACT).
TAKE ACTION. Close the conversation with respect and a plan. Wherever the conversation ends, make a commitment to next steps. The next step may be a plan to follow up on unresolved questions, committing to an appointment for vaccination, or planning similar conversations with two more colleagues. For some, we will need to agree to disagree respectfully. If conversation is not your comfort zone, support the best communicators with time, facts, and any other support you can. Lastly, be a visible vaccine role model in your community.
The vaccine is an additional tool to stop the devastation of Covid-19. Your voice matters. Your networks matter. Your influence on the people around you matters. Engage with compassion, facts, and purpose.
Those Nerdy Girls