How do I talk to my friends and family about vaccines?

If you have people in your life who are hesitant or scared about vaccinating their children, the thought of talking to them about it can be very scary.

Firstly, it is important to consider that people are just making the best decisions they can with the knowledge that they have. If that knowledge is based on incorrect data, then it is easy to make a decision that looks odd from the outside.

It is important to determine WHY they are hesitant or scared. ie the first step is to listen, and let them do the talking. It is important that they are heard, and that their fears are recognised as real. This will help and allow you to understand the core of the concerns that they have. There is no point in talking to someone about how the diseases, when all they are concerned about is one particular safety aspect of one vaccine.

It is also important to be very patient, and not respond with high emotion that will make them dig their heels in and leave you in a situation where neither of you are able to communicate. Try not to overwhelm people with too much information all at once, and it is important to use a language and a style that is culturally appropriate and within the understanding of the person you are talking to.

And be brave, conversations and potential confrontation CAN be scary and difficult, but it can also be very rewarding and lead to great change.

This article has some great tips and things to consider to help you talk about vaccinations.

Page reviewed June 2016.
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