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

We call our approach “1000 cups of tea”

We say this because it’s often not a “sit down once and have a yarn” sort of thing, but more something that you can touch upon and delve into on numerous occasions, at times when the people involved have the energy, and are receptive and willing to engage, over a cup of tea (if thats your thing).

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

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 or ‘wrong’ from the from your perspective.

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 serious the diseases can be, 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.


Here are some more articles with great tips and things to consider to help you talk about vaccinations.

Unicef article “how talk about covid-19 vaccines”

ABC graphic article “a conversation guide

How should you talk to friends and relatives who believe conspiracy theories?

How Can I Talk to My Friends and Family About Getting Vaccinated for COVID-19?

How to talk to conspiracy theorists—and still be kind

How Should You Talk To A Loved One Who Believes In Conspiracy Theories?

How to persuade a friend to vaccinate

Page reviewed August 2021.
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