A conversation guide to build vaccine confidence in our communities.

Many different types of conversations about COVID-19 have happened in the workplace. However, having conversations about vaccination can be a little more complex. People are more likely to listen to someone they trust and who can relate with them when having a conversation about vaccination. It is important to consider if you are the right messenger to have a conversation with the person that might be vaccine hesitant. Choosing the right messenger is an important part of building trust with the person that may be vaccination hesitant. This guide will provide you with practise scenarios and tips to keep in mind when talking with others about the COVID-19 vaccine.


Trust is an important factor when developing the relationship necessary to have a productive conversation about the COVID-19 vaccines. You can build trust with individuals through shared history or by using credible sources, being transparent about what you do know, and being consistent in what you say. Point them to credible sources where they can find reliable information. Such as Health Canada, the Government of Ontario, and Public Health Sudbury & Districts.


People will be more receptive to having conversations about vaccination if they feel you are empathic and respect them. Empathy is putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Empathy and trust build good will which is important when having difficult conversations. Being empathetic can sometimes be difficult, here are some tips to help you be more empathetic:

  • Show the person you support and understand them.
  • Acknowledge their feelings. For example, ‘you must be worried about X’ or ‘I can see you’ve really thought about X’.
  • Validate their feeling that is a totally normal thing to feel.
  • Finally, name the emotion they are feeling, repeat the emotion they are feeling makes them feel reassured.

Remember, hesitancy is normal. Having questions and concerns about the vaccine is normal. Letting people know you care and want to help them make an informed decision is important when discussing personal choices like vaccination.

Your mental health should always be considered before you make the decision to engage in difficult conversations. You are not alone, and you are not responsible for others health decisions. If you do not feel you have the mental capacity to engage in a constructive discussion about the choice of vaccination, that’s okay! Anyone who has been vaccinated can share their stories to help encourage others get vaccinated.

Key discussion points:

Practice scenarios:

A) If the individual, you are talking to has no concern regarding the pandemic:

The key thing to remember is that everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in a different way. Some have not had firsthand experience with COVID-19 in their social groups or family. Without firsthand experience it can be hard to understand the severity of the disease and the possible long-term effect of getting COVID-19.

You might hear things such as:
Try to respond respectfully by using these points:

B) If the individual you are talking to has certain vaccine hesitancy:

Vaccination hesitancy can be due to various factors. Consider what might be leading the person you are talking to, to be vaccine hesitant. Individuals might be vaccine hesitant because of:

Safety and science concerns

You might hear:
Try answering with this:

Influenced by rumours, conspiracies, or misinformation

You might hear:
Try answering with:

Conflict with personal or political values

You might hear:
Try answering with this:

Religious or moral objections to the vaccines

You might hear:
Try answering with this:

Afraid of needles

You might hear:
Try answering with this:


This item was last modified on May 13, 2022