How to have a conversation with a friend who is unsure of the Covid vaccine

There is greater pressure than ever to persuade younger people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, even nightclubs spreading the benefits of the jab. Clubs like Ministry of Sound and paradise will broadcast messages around their sites – before double jabs become a requirement for nightclub entry in September. A new social media campaign is also launched – including on TIC Tac Snapchat and Instagram – urging uptake of the vaccine among young adults. While the Department of Health and Social Affairs says more than two-thirds of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 have received a dose of the vaccine, there are concerns about adoption among younger people. people.

So if a friend of yours is unsure of getting the vaccine, what can you do to soothe them?Check where they get their information from

Professor Susan michie health psychologist and director of the Center for Behavior Change at UCL, says misinformation about Covid vaccines is a recognized problem around the world, but “especially misinformation from the US and UK” .

Anti-vax sentiment is said to be strongest among people who inquire about social media, so naturally many are young. While it’s important to say that not all people who are hesitant to vaccinate are conspiracy theorists, of course, it’s reasonable to be concerned about the unknown.

Michie says, “Find out about the side effects of the vaccine and explain how it works and dispel any myths. Side effects seem to be the main topic of misinformation, as well as what exactly is inside a vaccine.

Try not to patronize

Sorting out fact from fiction is not entirely straightforward in the all-consuming world of social media, especially if friends or people you admire are sharing the information. So try to understand where the other person is coming from and listen to them, even if you don’t agree at all with everything they say. Instead, ask them what’s in the video, graphic, or article they saw and get them to think more deeply about where it came from, who might have created it, and why it. could be shared.

People line up at a vaccination center in Dublin (Damien Eagers / PA)

(PA wire)

Suggest that they talk to someone they trust.

It can be easy to find scary information online, let alone your worries with someone. And sometimes a friend is not the best person to try to counter their beliefs or concerns.

“Suggest that they bring their concerns to someone they respect and who will listen and respond to their concerns in a positive way, such as a general practitioner, a religious leader or someone in their family network,” says Michie. .

Make sure they understand that young people can get seriously ill too

Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS Primary Care Medical Director and Deputy Director of the NHS Immunization Program, said: ‘As thousands continue to come forward every week, we must not forget that there is more 5,000 seriously ill people in hospital. with Covid and more than a fifth of them are young people.

Michie says to share accessible information on the relative benefits and risks of Covid infection, “in particular that they can be incapacitated for months, and the growing evidence of the dangers of long Covid among young – with the possibility of long-term damage to organs, including the brain.

(Alay / PA)

Explain how it helps others, including loved onesStress how vaccination is not just about protecting them, but reduces the risk of them becoming infected, even without knowing it, and of passing the infection on to loved ones, friends, the community, including those vulnerable to risk of serious illness or even death, ”explains Michie.Remind them that the vaccine is the best way to avoid more lockdownsHealth Secretary Sajid Javid called the vaccine “one of the most important things you will be asked to do.” No one wants to return to confinement or see new restrictions imposed on our freedoms, and the return to normality will require a huge collective effort. But it can help to focus on the positives and all the fun things that we can now start doing again.

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