Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

As published in the Daily Pilot | Los Angeles Times.

Millions of Americans each day are now being vaccinated against COVID-19. These safe, highly effective vaccines are the key to ending a pandemic that has devastated Orange County for more than a year. Unfortunately, some people are unsure about getting vaccinated for a variety of complex reasons. The good news is that you are the best person to talk to vaccine-hesitant family members or friends about why they should get their shots.

Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties is proud to be a part of the solution to end this deadly pandemic and looks forward to offering the COVID-19 vaccine to our community. Based on our medical team’s experience talking with thousands of patients about the COVID-19 vaccines, here are some tips from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services we have found helpful for handling those conversations:

Listen to their concerns with empathy. These vaccines, while remarkably effective, are still very new. It’s natural for people to have questions about them. The sheer amount of information — and misinformation — about COVID-19 vaccines out there can be overwhelming for anyone. That’s why it’s so important to listen without judgement when a family member or friend expresses fear about getting vaccinated and identify the root of their apprehension.

Acknowledge their emotions so they know they have been heard. For example, you can say something like, “It sounds like you’re stressed both at work and at home, and concerns about the vaccine are another source of stress. That’s really tough.”

Ask open-ended questions to explore those concerns. Open-ended questions are meant to get more than a “yes” or “no” response. Asking open-ended questions can help you understand what a person is worried about, where they learned any troubling information and what they have done to get answers to their questions. For example, you can ask, “How did watching that news report make you feel? What did you do next?”

As difficult as it may be when you are passionate about making sure everyone is vaccinated, do not be judgmental. Respectfully ask open-ended questions that help you understand their fears and avoid saying things like, “That’s silly to think that,” or “why would you be worried about that?”

Once you understand their concern, ask their permission to share information with them. Once you feel you understand where they are coming from, even if you do not agree, ask if you can provide some information. Tell them where you get information you trust and be careful not to push information on them. You can find answers to common questions they may have from reputable sources, including the CDC, O.C. Health Care Agency or other trusted sources such as the person’s doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Sometimes, simply sharing quick, accurate answers to common concerns with your friends or family members can go a long way toward moving someone from worry to confidence to empowerment. If you don’t know the answers to their questions, offer to help them look for information. Remember that the overwhelming data regarding the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines may not be enough to change someone’s mind about getting vaccinated right away. It may take a while for the idea to grow so be patient and kind.

The most important thing you can be when talking to someone who is vaccine-hesitant is nonjudgmental and supportive.

Dr. Janet Jacobson serves as the medical director for Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties.


Explore more on


This website uses cookies

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors use cookies and other tools to collect, store, monitor, and analyze information about your interaction with our site to improve performance, analyze your use of our sites and assist in our marketing efforts. You may opt out of the use of these cookies and other tools at any time by visiting Cookie Settings. By clicking “Allow All Cookies” you consent to our collection and use of such data, and our Terms of Use. For more information, see our Privacy Notice.

Cookie Settings

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors, use cookies, pixels, and other tracking technologies to collect, store, monitor, and process certain information about you when you access and use our services, read our emails, or otherwise engage with us. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences, or your device. We use that information to make the site work, analyze performance and traffic on our website, to provide a more personalized web experience, and assist in our marketing efforts. We also share information with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You can change your default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of required cookies when utilizing our site; this includes necessary cookies that help our site to function (such as remembering your cookie preference settings). For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.



We use online advertising to promote our mission and help constituents find our services. Marketing pixels help us measure the success of our campaigns.



We use qualitative data, including session replay, to learn about your user experience and improve our products and services.



We use web analytics to help us understand user engagement with our website, trends, and overall reach of our products.