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how to approach the question of vaccination with the family?


Holiday season: how to approach the issue of vaccination with the family?

A meal between several people and a table well stocked with food and holiday decorations.

How to approach the question of vaccination with the family?PHOTO: iStock / AleksandarNakic

As the debate over the COVID-19 vaccination and its ramifications continues to polarize public opinion, the topic can make many uncomfortable, especially when it comes to bringing it up as the rallies approach. celebrations. Associate Professor of Bioethics in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Montreal (UdeM), Vardit Ravitsky, has some tips to help you prepare for these difficult conversations.

What is the best approach to address this issue?

These are family members, people we love. The first thing to say is that we don’t want the discussion to cost long-term relationships. We do not want to enter a situation of direct conflict, which will escalate to the point where people no longer want to talk to each other. Empirical research shows that the more you are in conflict, the less you can convince people. […] The best thing to do is to start the conversation with empathy, acceptance and respect, then go and see what the unvaccinated person’s concerns are and see how you can help with some. better information and emotional support.

The worst thing to do is to criticize and judge.

A quote from

Vardit Ravitsky, Associate Professor of Bioethics at the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Montreal (UdeM)

How can we justify the fact that we are addressing the issue?

According to the professor, the best way to approach the subject is to say that we want everyone to be safe. We ask the question and if the answer is no, we ask, in a very empathetic way, why. It is through the why that we can start a non-confrontational conversation.

Young children are not vaccinated, how do you manage this element?

Each family has its own comfort zone around risk. If we have multiple seniors or people at high risk, our ability to support the risk of unvaccinated children indoors is lower. It’s up to each family to assess. If you are not ready to take this risk, you have to explain it with empathy.

How do you tell a family member or friend that they are not invited to a gathering?

The professor at the University of Montreal advises making another proposal to the person, such as an outdoor activity. You should never use the term exclude or reject. We must speak in a positive way, of safety for people who are more vulnerable, that the vaccines for the little ones arrive. We must frame the conversation in a positive way, talk about solidarity and protection.

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