Skip to Main Content

How to talk to someone who’s hesitant about getting the vaccine

Listen

Ask the person why they are hesitant. Some people of color may be reluctant to get vaccinated because of past abuses by the U.S. government in misleading African Americans undergoing medical testing (Tuskegee syphilis study). Others might be concerned about the vaccine affecting pregnancy because of what they have heard on social media. There are persons who perceive conspiracies to use vaccines to harm people or to generate profit for a pharmaceutical cabal. Some may view themselves as protected by divine forces. Each view involves a different response.

Understand

Show empathy; don’t be dismissive, don’t preach. Try to find common ground. Maybe start the conversation by getting the person to agree that everyone wants to stay healthy. Remind them that getting the shot will allow them to socialize with friends and loved ones again more quickly. Let them know that by getting vaccinated, they will not only help themselves, but will also help to protect their family and loved ones by reducing their chances of getting sick.

Prepare

Read up on the latest facts about COVID-19 vaccines so you can respond to questions. The Yale New Haven Health website contains extensive information.

Model

Get the vaccine yourself as soon as you are able. Highlight others who have gotten vaccinated to show it is safe: President Biden, Former President Trump, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Queen Elizabeth, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Martha Stewart, Tyler Perry.

Be available

Convincing someone to be vaccinated may not happen on the first try. Make yourself available and encourage the person to contact you should new questions or concerns arise.