COVID-19: Vaccine Conversations

On August 11, 2022, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the COVID-19 guidance for community, school, and early childhood education settings. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) supports these updates and is currently working to update its website and materials to reflect these changes.

You are one of the most influential sources of COVID-19 vaccine information for your friends and family. By communicating with patience and empathy, you can help the people close to you feel confident about COVID-19 vaccines. 

 

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Tips for talking about COVID-19 vaccines

You may want to have a conversation about COVID-19 vaccines with your friends or family, but don’t know where to start. Consider using these tips and examples to have an effective conversation. 

The suggested questions and statements shared below are only examples. You do not need to use these exact phrases or words to have an effective conversation. Make sure to adapt the examples to the way you naturally speak so you can best relate with the loved one, friend, or colleague you are talking with at the moment. 

Listen with empathy and ask open-ended questions

Ask open-ended questions to explore their concerns and acknowledge them without judgment. Know that it is okay to have strong emotions around the COVID-19 vaccines. Other people may have similar feelings. 

 For example:

  • “There are a lot of different perspectives online. I can understand why you might have questions.”
  • “COVID-19 vaccines are new, and it’s normal to have questions about them. What questions do you have?”
  • “What do you think of that information?”

Ask permission to share information

Ask if you can share some information or resources. Let them know where you get information that you trust. If you don’t know the answer to their questions, that is okay, offer to help them look for information. 

 For example: “I had a similar question. Can I share what I learned from DHS’s website?” 


Share why you chose to get vaccinated

Help your friends and family identify their own reasons for getting vaccinated. Ask if it is okay to share your reasons for getting vaccinated. Find the values you share with them. Know we all want to make the best decisions for ourselves and our loved ones’ health.

 For example:

  • “Data from Wisconsin DHS show that the COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death. This is why I got vaccinated. I want to be there for my family.”
  • “I wanted to learn about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines before getting vaccinated. I learned that millions of people have gotten the vaccine and that the vaccines have undergone intense safety monitoring. Knowing the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective helped me decide to get vaccinated.”
  • “I love to travel and want to feel safe when I do. By getting vaccinated, I can visit new places while knowing I’m doing everything I can to protect myself and other from getting COVID-19.” 

Acknowledge that this might be where the conversation stays

Remember that one conversation will likely not change someone’s opinions about COVID-19 vaccination. If the conversation becomes emotional, try to end the conversation rather than let it escalate. Return to the conversation when you and the other person are both in a positive mood. Continue to listen with empathy, ask open-ended questions, and share your perspectives when appropriate. Respectful conversations can help the people around you think critically about the information they are hearing, and feel more confident about COVID-19 vaccines.  


Help your friends and family members get vaccinated

Help your friend or family member get their vaccine if they tell you they want to get vaccinated. This could mean helping them find vaccine information, helping them make a vaccination appointment, or offering to help with things like transportation or child care. 

 For example: “Let’s find a vaccination appointment time that works with both of our schedules, I can give you a ride!”   

 


Resources to help with COVID-19 vaccine conversations

Access resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that give you the facts on COVID-19 vaccines and can help you have effective conversations with friends and family members.  


Learn vaccine facts

Get a better understanding of each of the available vaccines, FDA clinical trials, and the safety monitoring systems that are in place.  

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Last Revised: July 26, 2022

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