Alamak! My parents are vaccine hesitant, what do I do?

How you can keep yourself (and your family) safe, even if your parents don’t believe in vaccination.

“Amal, my parents are vaccine hesitant! Oh no, what should I do?!” 😳 Ok, so camni, we’re gonna talk about *why* your parents are vaccine-hesitant, and how you can talk to them without breaking out into a fight. Baca ya? Kitorang ada tips-tips to have a healthy conversation with your parents!

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Why are my parents’ vaccine hesitant?

“Beside makcik bawang conspiracy theories on chatapps and social media, why are my parents’ vaccine hesitant?”
Amal rasa it’s easy for us to misinterpret the reasons behind vaccine hesitant parents. We often assume that their beliefs stem from bizarre hoaxes and conspiracy theories on Whatsapp and Facebook. Tapi babe that’s not always the case! Plus, vaccine hesitancy existed even before we entered the pandemic. There are various concerns and they’re all valid. Amal rasa we all need to address their concerns to better understand them and become a #VaksinNation.

“My Mak Abah said we don’t need to get vaccinated because everyone has gotten it”
Responsibility also plays a role in vaccine hesitant parents. Amal pun noticed that many parents claimed that if other people’s children have been vaccinated, their children no longer need one. Ish babe, janganla camtu … With new variants, anyone can still get infected. We have to remind our parents that the only way to kick this virus in the butt is if we all get vaccinated together! Tak aci la if only one person is doing the work, right? Kena bekerjasama gais!

“My Amma and Appa are scared there could be serious side effects la, Amal…”
Amal sedar one thing that we have in common with vaccine hesitant parents is their fear of serious side effects. The infodemic definitely did a number on us lah.  Banyaknya misinformation on chatapps and social media. Which is why WHO created the Vaccine Safety Net, a global network of websites providing information yang sah on vaccine safety.  Why not redirect your parents to reliable sources to change their perspectives. Lagipun, kena jaga-jaga when the message from WhatsApp says “Forward many times” kat atas tu.

“Mak tak percaya the vaccine sangat, they created it way too fast.”
Korang jangan risau… Although the vaccine was created quickly, it was carefully tested for safety. The scientific technology that we have achieved is far beyond our imagination! In fact, the technology used to develop the COVID-19 vaccines have been in development for years to prepare for outbreaks of infectious viruses. The manufacturing processes were ready very early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nak cakap senang-senang: the science is already there, and technology moves a lot faster than we realise! 😲

READ: 6 Mitos Pasal Vaksin COVID-19 …. Debunked

How to talk to my parents?

Good communication is vital in order to make your vaccine hesitant parents faham why the vaccine is good for everyone. Conversations can get intense very quickly but don’t give up just yet. Instead of jumping straight to the proven statistics and research, let’s try circling around the block to loosen up the tension with these methods suggested by UNICEF.

1.   Connect with their values

Cuba faham perspective dorang. Be empathetic and listen to the things that they missed doing before the pandemic hits. If they enjoyed makan breakfast with you at the Kopitiam on Saturdays, you can highlight that the Kopitiams will open up again if we’re all vaccinated against the disease. Ha, so bila slow talk tu, lembut-lembut je la ya?

2.   Don’t interrupt

Remember not to potong or jump into correcting your parents right away. This will leave them feeling defeated and may trigger them to end the conversation on a sour note. You shouldn’t agree with false information either, but you should empathize and continue the process rather than ending the conversation immediately. Ingat ya, immediate changes don’t usually happen in a single conversation. Although it can be a long and challenging process, patience and persistence is key to slowly encourage vaccine hesitant parents into the right direction.

3.  Help them feel empowered

“Papa, you can do something about it. These vaccines work.”
The pandemic has completely transformed our lives. This dramatic change affects everyone, leaving us feeling scared and defeated. Give your loved ones an empowering message; You can do something about this disease. Remind them that they have the power to end the pandemic by getting vaccinated.

4.   Don’t focus on the myths

You guys must hati-hati when addressing a myth, it can backfire by making the myth more memorable than the facts. Tapi, sometimes you can’t just biar the misinformation without calling it out, kan? If you find yourself stuck in such a position, try guna Amal punya approach: fact, warning, myth, fact.

  • Start dengan COVID-19 vaccines are extremely safe and effective.
  • Warn before the myth is coming. Say, “there is misinformation about______.”
  • Mention the myth that you are addressing.
  • End with the fact. Show why the myth is not true.

Ingat, when addressing the myths, the goal here is to replace the misinformation with the correct information. Yu ken du dis!

5.   Don’t get discouraged

Unlike mee segera, it’s important to note that immediate changes don’t usually happen in a single conversation. Although it can be a long and challenging process, patience and persistence is key to slowly encourage vaccine hesitant parents into the right direction. If tak jadi today, you can try esok pulak. The most important thing is to maintain a connection with them.

Oh, and if the conversation is getting heated, tak salah if you guys need to take a breather and come back to the conversation again later. KL wasn’t built in a day!

Psst.. Check out Amal’s bonus pointers before diving into the conversation:

  • Talk to Mak Abah when they are relaxed. Ease into the conversation during your santai If they seem agitated or busy, quickly abort the mission tau!
  • Jangan gaduh! If they are unwilling to discuss it yet, try sending the links on their Whatsapp instead. Coming off too strong would push them away, so it’s best to avoid that.
  • Hati-ke-hati Let your parents know how you truly feel:
  • Not being vaccinated means you takleh do all your favorite activities
  • You feel left out when all your kawan2 are getting vaccinated and they will be able to do everything they want
  • You takut that you might infect your loved ones

How to protect myself?

s. You can still attend school like the rest of

Vaccine hesitancy is multifaceted, takde sebab yang terus-terang tau. For some it stems from contemporary challenges like misinformation on social media. It could also be historical mistrust of medical or governmental establishments. But whatever the reason is babe, always remember that our parents are not being mean if they’re vaccine hesitant.  They are genuinely concerned for our safety. If your parents are vaccine hesitant, don’t give up just yet ya. There are plenty of ways to help them overcome the barriers to vaccination. Let’s all remain hopeful and keep fighting for the protection of others.

In the meantime, stay protected by doubling down on preventative measures! Always remember to maintain physical distancing when you’re out and about. Be sure to carry around a bottle of hand sanitiser and keep your hands clean at all times. Take care of your friends the same way you want to be taken care of.

Don’t forget to share this with your friends who are still tiptoeing around their vaccine hesitant parents! Sama-sama we can overcome this hurdle and become a VaksinNation together!

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Champion for vaccination! Two-wheels, a big heart and not enough books.
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