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Navigating the vaccination status conversation

Tips for having the vaccination status conversation.

As we start to gather together again for things like sporting events, concerts and other get togethers, you may be meeting people that you haven't seen in a while, asking about someone's vaccination status can be an awkward and even a heated topic.

Dr. Lyndsay Volpe Bertram a psychologist with Spectrum Health has advice on how to approach this topic, "I think the first step is to be prepared ahead of time to have an understanding of your own personal boundaries, and why you're asking the question, really important to keep in mind as we're venturing into this with other people, because that's going to prepare us to let the other person know why we're asking. But also make sure that we're not over explaining or, you know, providing too much information that could incite a heated conversation. So if I'm thinking about gathering with people, you know, I might be prepared to say, you know, I'm not comfortable with XYZ. And just explaining to the other person, hey, my household is vaccinated, or everyone who is able to is, can I ask if yours is? Here's why I'm asking. I'm asking because I want to be able to make an informed decision about about safety and about our households tolerance for risk. So I think straightforward, short and sweet is usually the best way to do it. But just have that in the back of your mind, why you're asking and why it's important to you."

But sometimes those conversations and get a little tense. Dr. Volpe Bertram says when that happens start by recognizing your own emotions, "So to be able to say, Hey, this is starting to feel a little uncomfortable for me, or maybe even this conversation isn't going in the way that I anticipated it would. And just, again, reflect on yourself much better than saying, hey, you're arguing with me, or Hey, you're getting angry about this. We don't want to point fingers that never helps the situation. But just to redirect it back to the question at hand. Or if it seems like it's not gonna go anywhere. It's okay to say, why don't we end it here for now, you know, if it's somebody who's close to you, you'll want to add in, can we pick this up leader work? Let's talk about this, when things might feel a little different or when we've had time to think about it, but it's absolutely okay to interject and just kind of shut it down before it starts to go to a place of no return."

TWO THINGS TO REMEMBER

  • Trust a person’s answer and don't push to see their COVID-19 vaccine card
  • Consider that someone’s vague reply or a non-answer is probably an answer 

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