Prepare for this year’s hot topic at Thanksgiving dinner: Covid vaccines.
For the 196 million fully vaccinated Americans, the upcoming winter vacation could look like a pre-pandemic time, White House chief medical adviser Dr.Anthony Fauci said on Sunday on “This Week”. “from ABC. But many families will still have to make difficult decisions about gatherings that include unvaccinated people.
The first step is simple: ask your guests about their immunization status. Beyond that, there is a lot of gray area. Should you cancel the invitation to families with young children who are not yet eligible to receive the Covid vaccine? Do all participants need to be tested before meeting? And what do you say to your vaccine resistant aunt?
Here are four ways to deal with these types of awkward and awkward scenarios, so that you can have a safe and conflict-free vacation.
Lead with compassion and benevolence
Getting vaccinated is the best way to make your vacation gatherings safer. Even a single dose will give you some degree of protection. And now that American adults are eligible for booster doses, fully vaccinated people have yet another tool to maximize their protection before the holidays.
But ironically, most pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine people have something important in common, which is why conversations about vaccines can get so heated.
“Both groups are actually quite concerned about health and safety and believe that what’s at stake is of extreme importance,” Afton Kapuscinski, associate professor and director of the Psychological Services Center at CNBC, told CNBC. ‘Syracuse University.
When the topic is brought up, approach it with love and concern for everyone’s health, rather than judgment, advises Dr. Chris Beyrer, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Think about how it would feel if you were left out of a family event and how you would like to be spoken to, Kapuscinski adds.
Just keep in mind that even with the best of intentions and the most careful wording, “there might not be a way to completely reduce the risk of someone being offended,” she says.
Avoid blaming language
For people hesitant about vaccines, Kapuscinski explains, explanations of vaccine effectiveness often come across as personal attacks: you are selfish, anti-science, and irrational.
So try to avoid thinking in black and white – because in reality people are nuanced. A disagreement doesn’t necessarily make someone a bad person, even on life and death topics like Covid vaccines, Kapuscinski says.
His suggestion: use the language “I” rather than the language “you”. Instead of pointing fingers or saying, “Sorry, you are not safe with you,” speak from your own perspective.
For example, you might say, “It’s a tough decision for me, but I think the safest thing for me and my family is to skip the party this year.”
Find common ground
If you get into an argument about the vaccine, be aware of this: You are unlikely to change the other person’s mind. Even the attempt usually forces the other person to sink deeper, Kapuscinski says.
Instead, work to find common ground. Ask questions about why the other person is reluctant to get the vaccine or if there is information that could help them make a decision. It’s more likely to lead to a productive conversation.
The same concept applies if the conversation heats up: acknowledge what is going on between the two of you right now, rather than focusing on the content of the argument.
You might say, “We’re both angry and we both care a lot. I really don’t want this to separate us, because I love you. Maybe we shouldn’t be talking about it now. Then, when you are in a quieter, more neutral environment away from the dinner table, resume the conversation.
Or, since people are more likely to listen to those they trust, you can tactfully suggest that they consult a reliable expert: “Hey, would you just do me a favor – talk to a doctor who you trust and see what it says? Let me know what you learn.
Consider making accommodations for unvaccinated people. If you’re worried that they won’t compromise, try asking them anyway. “Don’t assume people won’t do things,” Kapuscinski says.
For example, you could turn to mitigation strategies most Americans used before vaccines were available, such as gathering outside., wear masks and maintain social distancing or ask your unvaccinated guests to self-quarantine and get tested before the event.
“Nothing is perfect. Nothing will be 100% effective,” says Dr. Jill Weatherhead, assistant professor of infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine. “The more mitigation strategies you apply, the safer the event will be.”
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