Starting the conversation about the vaccine

It's all about starting a conversation.

It is important to have open and honest conversations with the people around us especially the people who we are connected to and feel supported by. Even when it’s difficult, these discussions can help us become more knowledgeable and achieve mutual understanding and respect. 

Starting a conversation with your GP

Health decisions are best made after having a conversation with your trusted health professional. 

When you're eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, it's important to speak to your healthcare provider. you might want to talk to them because you have questions about your personal health or you would like to understand the process and risks associated with the vaccine.

They will be able to talk you through any health concerns, your choices, what it will mean for your health - anything that can help you feel confident in your decision. 

Some questions you may want to ask them are:

  • Can I get vaccinated while on my current medication?
  • How might it affect any health problems I already have?
  • Considering my medical condition, should I receive the vaccine?
  • Which vaccination is best for me?
  • What will happen when I get vaccinated?
  • How can I protect myself and others until I'm fully vaccinated?
  • What can I do to minimize vaccine after-effects?
  • How can I safely receive the COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve had allergic reactions to other vaccines?

Other sources of information include:

Starting a conversation with a loved one

It’s normal to be hesitant about something new. Before you decided to get the vaccine, you may have had some questions too. Use this as a point to open the conversation.

  • “It makes sense to have questions about something new! What is it that you’re unsure of in particular?”
  • “I had similar concerns too. Can I share what I did to help me make up my mind?”

You can acknowledge how someone is feeling without agreeing or disagreeing. Even if they’re misinformed, focus on what’s concerning them instead of being critical.

  • “I can see this is really important to you. What would reassure you?”
  • It’s tricky to find the reliable information. I recently spoke to my GP who was able to give me more information relating to my personal situation.”
  • “It’s good to ask questions. What kind of information are you looking for?”

Use language that shows that you respect their ability to make their own decision, rather than telling them what to do or think. The pandemic has completely transformed our lives. Remind them that they can help to change how greatly we are affected by this virus by getting the vaccine. 

  • “Does that help?”
  • "What do you think?"
  • “Talking it through with my doctor was easier than I thought it would be. I'm happy to share what that process was like for me.”
  • “Let me know if you want to talk about it more.”

They may have heard some things that are not true and are making them worry. In that case, sharing trusted sources is important. Reliable sources of information include:

If the conversation goes south

Not everyone is open to discussion. It’s better to focus on talking to people who have questions, mixed feelings, or aren’t strongly attached to being against the vaccines. But if you do find yourself in a conversation that is turning into an argument, acknowledge your differences and disengage.

After the conversation

After having the conversation think about how they might be feeling. Remember, these can be ongoing conversations - there doesn’t have to be an immediate ‘conclusion’.