While around 70% of the population in the Cayman Islands have already been vaccinated, we understand that sometimes it can be hard to talk to family, friends and loved ones about the COVID-19 vaccine and reasons to get it.
Here are some tips for how to talk to family members, close friends, and loved ones especially if they are undecided or hesitant about the vaccine.
Start By Listening
It’s natural to have different questions about the vaccine. The most important thing you can do for your family and loved ones is to listen and empathise with their thoughts, feelings and concerns.
We understand that the last twelve months have been a stressful time for many. One way to connect with those who may have a different view on the vaccine is to understand where their beliefs or fears are coming from. By understanding your loved ones' perspective you can better help them make their decisions.
The key here is to listen with no judgement and not to be dismissive of what they have to say, even if it’s completely the opposite of your opinion. Let them speak their mind and don’t make it a debate. By listening to them, and having an open conversation, you give them the space they need to express themselves.
Explore Their Concerns
Whatever thoughts your friends, family or loved ones have, explore the underlying reasons for these with them.
You don't have to agree with their beliefs but by recognising that their concerns are real, you validate them as a person. Beliefs and feelings don't have to be rational, and sometimes people just need space to express them.
Feelings of uncertainty are natural given how the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted so many lives.
This is particularly important for those who have been directly affected by COVID-19, for example, those who have lost their jobs, their businesses, or whose way of life has been greatly changed.
Give Them The Resources They need
Sometimes people can form strongly held beliefs about the COVID-19 vaccine from second-hand sources like people they know, social media, or things they've seen on the news. While second-hand sources are not always accurate, if you try to oppose these sources you might end up sounding defensive.
Instead, the best option is to give your loved ones the resources and tools they need to learn about the vaccine on their own. This allows them to go through the information at their own pace and make their own decision. Whether this is in the form of government advice, credible sources or stories from people they know who have taken the COVID-19 vaccine shots, giving your loved ones the tools they need to understand the vaccine is important.
Relating the resources to experiences or people closer to them can make them feel more comfortable as well.
Help Them Find Their Own Reasons
Ultimately, choosing to get the COVID-19 vaccine is your loved one's decision.
You need to make sure they have their reasons and have chosen this for themselves rather than trying to frame the vaccine from your viewpoint.
Everyone who has taken the COVID-19 vaccine in the Cayman Islands so far has a reason for doing so -- whether it is to meet the nephew they've never seen before, to hug their family again, or to protect their grandparents or friends.
Helping your loved one to find the reason that makes sense for them to get vaccinated will make sure this is the right decision for them, and voluntary.
Offer to Go with Them
For most people, doing something for the first time is scary.
When it comes to getting a vaccine, it can be unnerving, especially if you have a fear of needles or new places. This fear is normal, and you can help your loved ones by offering to go with them or finding somebody to take the vaccine with them at the same time.
Accompanying a loved one can help if they are not sure what to expect. Being with them every step of the way can make them feel at ease.
Understand It’s Completely Normal
Everyone is different and has the right to make decisions at their own pace. It’s completely normal for your friends, family and loved ones to be scared, stressed, or anxious especially given the impact of the pandemic on the globe.
That said, how you approach your loved one or family member when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine can help alleviate some of the anxiety they may be feeling.
We all care for the ones we love and want to help ease their concerns. By listening in a non-threatening and open manner you can help to better understand their fears and make them feel more comfortable.
Visit our COVID-19 vaccine pages to learn more about the vaccine and how it works.