How can I talk to parents and families about getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

Are you having trouble talking to parents and families about getting the COVID-19 vaccine? Here are some tips for having those more difficult conversations. 

  1. Find common ground. Finding common ground can help start the discussion. For example, “We all want the same thing – to get back to doing the things we love. Getting your vaccine will help”. Talking to people with different views can be a hard conversation to have, but encouraging families to get vaccinated and protected is worth having these more difficult conversations. Focusing on common goals is the best approach to convince people that they are not alone in making decisions about the vaccine, and that you want what is best for them. 
  2. Listen to concerns. Another useful approach is to listen to people’s concerns, and give them the chance to speak about their opinion on the vaccine. Sometimes getting the opportunity to talk about your opinion first is what helps a person be more open to someone else’s advice.
  3. Reassure them. Having concerns and questions about the vaccine is natural. Many people are concerned over the process and timeline of the development of the various COVID-19 vaccines, but it is important to reassure them of the safety and efficacy of these vaccines. Various studies have shown that vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to protect yourself and those around you from serious illnesses like COVID-19. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. This can reduce your risk of developing COVID-19 and make your symptoms milder if you do get it.  
  4. Recognize the role of media. It is also important to recognize that headlines can overlook important factors. Media often creates echo chambers where people only focus on certain ideas and viewpoints. Suggestive headlines can be overwhelming. It is important to keep in mind that news articles often do not show us the full picture, and only focus on eye-catching sentences. When referring to headlines and news articles in your conversations with families, try to encourage people to consult additional sources so they can better understand the role vaccines play in the pandemic.
  5. Use reliable sources. Lastly, it will help your conversation to recognize and base your discussions on information that is correct and complete. Research and utilize scientifically based resources and facts when having discussions with your loved ones about the vaccine. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has lots of resources that can be a great starting point for your conversations. Refer families to these resources so that they can learn more about the facts. 

Based on content from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit 

Supplementary Links: 

General Information on COVID-19 Vaccines  

COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Aged 5 to 11 

Destination Normal: The COVID-19 Vaccine for Youth  

Camisha Rahmatian, agente de projet, Familles Canada

Camisha Rahmatian

Project Officer

Families Canada