How to talk about COVID-19 Vaccinations with your support worker or participant

COVID-19 has no doubt changed the way we live day to day, with social distancing and face masks now becoming the norm. And as Australia begins to reopen borders and starts rolling out of roadmaps for post-COVID, we’ve seen lots of news, debates, opinions, (and sometimes misinformation) about COVID Vaccinations.

Thanks to social media and our friend Google, it’s really easy for anyone to jump online and read news articles, blogs, and Facebook posts about the effectiveness and safety of the COVID-19 Vaccination. It’s important when doing your own research to check the sources of the information you’re reading and make sure that they written by a medical professional. Here at Real Community Services we suggest to all our staff and participants to check out the QLD Health website for accurate vaccination info.

But what if you’re supporting a participant, or you’re a participant chatting with your support worker and you’re not sure how to start the ‘Vax Chat’? Below we’ve put together some helpful tips on how to break the ice and discuss a person’s vaccination choice while remaining respectful, neutral, and supportive.

  • Understand what’s causing their vaccine hesitation

Not everyone adapts to change well and for a number of people something new can cause an anxious feeling. Instead of dismissing their concerns, ask some more questions so you can better understand their hesitancy. You can try questions like “What is it that you’re unsure of in particular?” or “Can I share with you what helped me make my decision?”.  From here you can better guide the conversation and if need be, provide more reassuring information.

  • Acknowledge their concerns

It’s really important to not be critical of someone’s opinion or decision and instead to be genuinely acknowledge what their concerns or questions about the vaccine are. You can acknowledge their concerns by saying things like “I can see this is really important to you. What would reassure you?” and “It’s good to ask questions. What kind of information are you looking for?”.

You can also share concerns you had and what information or resource helped you better understand the vaccination.

  • Respect their autonomy

Finally, remember that everyone needs to make a decision which is right for them and at the end of the day everyone around the world wants the same thing – to be safe, healthy, and happy. Make sure to use language that encourages them to be informed and and that you show respect for their choice