EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — As vaccine supply increases in the U.S., health officials are still fighting vaccine hesitancy, which could hinder efforts to reach herd immunity.
It can be especially challenging to fight that hesitancy among family members and friends.
If you’re worried about a loved one refusing the vaccine, a local infectious disease expert says the first step is to listen to their concerns.
“For me, getting a friend or family member to get vaccinated is all about understanding why they don’t want to get vaccinated and then working through it with them,” said Dr. Ogechika Alozie, a member of Texas' infectious disease preparedness task force. “The biggest thing really for me is being able to get back to normal.”
Keep conversations respectful and calm. Consider sharing scientific data from a reliable source. You might even explain your own reasons for getting the shot as someone they know and trust.
“I think where we fail is when we say 'Get vaccinated, but do everything that you're doing in June of 2020,'” Dr. Alozie said. “That’s not a rational conversation and we need to move beyond it. The data is clear. It’s been clear for awhile. The CDC has caught up with that data. And vaccination, not only from a personal standpoint, is a way to move forward, but to get our community back to normal.”
Vaccine hesitancy appears to be falling in the U.S. A Gallup survey in March found roughly 74% of Americans were willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, up by nearly 10% from December.
If you’re on the fence about getting a shot, El Paso officials want to hear from you about your reasons why. You can fill out a survey here.