Navigating the Vaccine Conversation

This article originally appeared in Eastlake High School’s ‘Eastlake Edge’ in December 2021. It has been lightly edited for republication.

As we near the end of 2021, the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine constantly expands, as does the range of people who are eligible for it. In earlier months, the vaccine was made available for adolescents five to 18, allowing high schoolers to get vaccinated.

However, with the constant expansion of vaccine availability has come some concerns from parents about the impact it will have on their children. At the same time, some students have expressed that while they wish to receive the vaccine, they are unable to because of their parents’ apprehension about its effectiveness, reliability, and more.

A twelfth-grade Eastlake High School student, who has chosen to remain anonymous, shared how her parents’ hesitation has made it difficult for her to express her wishes in getting the vaccine.

“I want to get it especially because I’ve read credible sources and it doesn’t seem like a good idea to not do it right now. I just figured why prolong it?”

She added how this disagreement between her and her parents has provoked feelings of irritation and stress.

“There is frustration because I have tried sending sources and articles to my parents but it’s just hard. I feel like the odd one out at school,” she shared.

As many other teens grapple with similar situations, the question of how to navigate such a circumstance arises. Live Well San Diego, an initiative of the County of San Diego to build better health, has provided tips and advice to The Eastlake Edge on how students can navigate a civil conversation with their family about receiving the vaccine.

1) Take time to deliberate on your approach before having the conversation. 

It is always helpful to dive into the conversation prepared with a clear idea of what you want to talk about and how you want to set the tone.

2) Establish common ground. 

Establish where both sides stand and consider what you may have in common. What do you all value? What do you all agree on when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine? It is important to maintain a civil environment in these conversations because that allows for a better understanding of why each side feels the way they do.

3) Connect your loved ones with credible information online. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with The World Health Organization (WHO), are just a couple of resources that provide reliable and accurate COVID-19 vaccine information for parents to view.

4) Use clear communication with loved ones. 

Clear communication will allow for mutual respect on both sides and stop the conversation from escalating to something worse.

While the conversation to get the COVID-19 vaccine may be a situation that many students are struggling with, these tips provide a strong foundation for any teen to spark a conversation with their loved ones. 

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine and how you can schedule an appointment, visit livewellsd.org.

By Kristen Ang, Eastlake High School | Class of 2022