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Do you know someone who hasn’t gotten the COVID-19 vaccine? Maybe you want to talk to them about it, but you’re not sure what to say. There’s still time—and we’ve got the resources to help you start that conversation.
How to have the conversation

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COVID-19 is ruthless. It does not discriminate and has affected our community in ways that none of us could have ever imagined. We created these short films in memory of people loved and lost to the virus.

Lisa

After a lifetime of teaching and service, Lisa’s dad has one more lesson for all of us.

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Have the conversation

It's a tough but necessary conversation. Kenleigh McMinn, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist with HealthTexas Provider Network, part of Baylor Scott & White Health, offers guidance on how to talk with a loved one who's resisting getting the COVID-19 vaccine, including:

  • How to prepare yourself emotionally
  • Where to find facts to address their concerns
  • How to respond to misinformation
  • What to not do or say during the conversation
  • How to handle the situation if your loved one decides not to get the vaccine


Read Dr. McMinn's tips

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Get conversation tips

It’s a tough but necessary conversation. Kenleigh McMinn, PhD, a clinical psychologist with Baylor University Medical Center, part of Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas, offers guidance on how to talk with a loved one who’s resisting getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Read her tips

Know how to address their concerns

Maybe your loved one is hesitating because of something they've heard or read. While a lot of information in the news and on social media is helpful, some of it may be misleading. We’ve collected some of the most common concerns about the vaccine and spoken to medical experts—including Dr. Alex Arroliga, chief medical officer for Baylor Scott & White Health—to find out how you can address them with your family and friends.

I understand you're concerned about your safety, and I get it. I'm not going to try to convince you of anything. I'm just going to tell you what's known about this technology.

People think this vaccine technology is new, but it's not new. It's been around for at least two decades. Scientists have studied both mRNA vaccines and viral vector vaccines for use against other viruses like Ebola, the flu and Zika.

That's why the pharmaceutical industry was ready—they had already been researching and just had to modify the technology for this particular vaccine. Only one thing was cut during this process, and that's the red tape, to help get the vaccines distributed faster.

I pray that you're right, but why take a chance? That's what a lot of people have thought, and some of them ended up in the hospital or even died.

Can I share some data with you? A study from the CDC reports that an unvaccinated person is 10 times more likely to require hospitalization and 11 times more likely to die than someone who is vaccinated.

Plus, even if your infection is mild, you can still transmit it to someone who may be older or high risk, and it may end up killing them. Is it worth that risk?

Your question about side effects is extremely important, but this vaccine is as safe as any other. All vaccines have the possibility of short-term side effects. For the COVID-19 vaccines, that looks like fatigue, fever, chills, nausea and headache that can last up to a few days. Some people don't even have any side effects.

If you're worried about possible long-term side effects, the chances of that happening are really low. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine, and that severe side effects are extremely rare. The FDA required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least eight weeks after the final dose.

I understand that as a mother, your baby's safety is what matters most to you. But getting the vaccine is even more important if you're pregnant. If you get the infection, you're more likely to require hospitalization and need a ventilator.

Plus, it puts your baby at risk too. COVID-19 has been linked to an increased risk of preterm birth, premature rupture of membranes, growth problems and stillbirth.

Getting COVID-19 during pregnancy can be life-threatening for you and your baby, but getting the vaccine is a proven way to protect you both with very few risks. Studies show the antibodies from the vaccine can pass to your baby through umbilical cord blood and breast milk. Here's a resource if you're interested in learning more.

I know this rumor has been circulating, but it's not based on science. It's simply not true. Did you know that RNA is different from DNA? The RNA in an mRNA vaccine doesn't even get to the center of the cell, meaning it has no ability to impact your DNA at all. Here's how they really work.

In addition to being studied for other vaccines, mRNA technology has been used in cancer treatment to target cancer cells. It's not dangerous, and it's highly effective.

Not really. Right now, the people who are getting sick are the unvaccinated, many of whom are younger than you might think. Take a look at this demographic data from the CDC on COVID-19 associated hospitalizations to date.

You should still get vaccinated. We're not sure how long you may be protected after recovering from COVID-19. Researchers are still studying that. Why take a chance that you could get sick again?

When the vaccine first became available, there sometimes were long waits for appointments, and limited places to get the shot. But now the US has plenty of vaccines, and in many cities, there are no waits. You can usually get a same-day appointment at a clinic or pharmacy close to home or work. Some facilities even take walk-ins. And getting the shot takes only a few minutes. If you get COVID-19, you could be sick or quarantined for several days.

Yes, the coronavirus is changing, or mutating, like many viruses do. But the vaccines available in the US have been effective at keeping people from getting seriously sick from the mutations, including the very contagious Delta variant you may have heard or read about.

Here’s the point. The vaccine was developed to decrease hospitalizations and deaths—which it does. That’s a very clear outcome. These vaccines protect 90% of the time against those things, even after 6-9 months. Remember all the people who were dying in the beginning? That’s why the vaccine was developed in this way.

That means the protection against infection with the virus is lower (around 70%) which has been known since the beginning of vaccine distribution. We have to remember that the vaccine wasn’t developed to completely prevent infection, only to decrease severe illness and death from it.

Why masking and physical distancing? This is like saying that you’re going to win a war only by bombing. It’s not a very effective strategy. But if you have the bombing plus an army and tanks on your side, then you have a higher likelihood of winning that war. We need the vaccines, the masks and the physical distancing to win this war.

To put it another way, cars don’t just have one safety measure. A car has brakes. A car has a seat belt and an air bag. And nowadays, a car has features that light up and beep when another car gets close. All these things help protect you and give you peace of mind that you and your family will be safe if an accident (aka COVID-19 exposure) happens.

Let me tell you why people are promoting that. In the lab, ivermectin (which is an anti-parasitic drug) may have an effect on the virus. However, you would need to take 20-30 times the doses that are commonly used—and safe to use—in order to achieve the amount of medication that may stop the virus. With that level of medication, you may end up with significant side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, dizziness, seizures, coma and even death.

Vaccines, however, are well-studied and have been used to prevent serious illness for decades. The doses are carefully administered and highly effective without the risk of damaging your long-term health in the way that COVID-19 infection or heavy ivermectin use might.

Keep in mind that ivermectin is not approved by the FDA for use against COVID-19, but the COVID-19 vaccines are.

This may be true for many people, but have you heard about the long-term effects of COVID-19, or “long COVID”? I’ve read stories about people experiencing long-lasting effects like difficulty sleeping, fatigue, headache, continued loss of smell and taste, increased forgetfulness and even depression. Even if your initial symptoms are mild, these effects can show up later and last much longer.

There is still so much unknown about how the virus could impact us down the road. Why take a risk?

 

Help them find a vaccine

We’re making it as convenient as possible for your loved ones to find a hospital, clinic or pharmacy that offers COVID-19 vaccines. Many have same-day appointments, and some accept walk-ins.
Find a vaccine
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