What to Do if Family or Friends Aren’t Vaccinated

Opinions on vaccination are harshly divided — even to the detriment of once-happy relationships. You may find your friends or family have decided to not vaccinate their children while you stand firmly on the other side of the fence. This can be challenging for many reasons.

Unvaccinated children have caused disease outbreaks, and they put vaccinated children at risk. Immunocompromised children or infants in the window between birth and appropriate age for vaccination are at significant increased risk of harm. Anti-vaxxers believe (incorrectly) that vaccinated children could potentially be “shedding” or transmitting the virus following a live-virus vaccine.

If you find yourself dealing with anti-vaxxers, especially when they are dear friends and family, then let’s explore how best to handle this situation without causing significant harm.

Be Frank and Honest

But loving and kind. It’s important to approach the topic with clear, direct, honest, open, kind and loving communication. You don’t need to get into an open debate — unless that’s your style. You don’t necessarily need to make the other people feel wrong or bad. You don’t need to give them the side-eye or berate them for their decision.

You only need to state your stance and uncover theirs. Do not go deeper into the conversation, if you sense it will cause more harm than good. If they do seem open to a civil discussion, lead with stories, not data.

Set Clear Boundaries

Unless there’s an outbreak, then it’s unlikely that your vaccinated child is at risk when playing with unvaccinated children, especially if you’re child is otherwise healthy. This may not be the case if you know your child to be immunocompromised or if you have an a newborn or infant.

Infants and immunocompromised children are best kept safely at a distance from individuals who could potentially transmit disease, including unvaccinated people.

As above, you’ll want to be kind and honest with unvaccinated friends and family. Set clear boundaries about how and when unvaccinated individuals can be near your children, if at all. Uphold those boundaries with kindness. Ensure that its clear this is a decision for the health and safety of your family, not a personal vendetta.

Don’t Waste Time on Worry

While it’s certainly concerning to know individual choices are putting global health at risk, you don’t need to speed time worrying. Anxiety and stress about unvaccinated friends and family need not get you down and they won’t help the situation.

Despite the increase in unvaccinated individuals, there are still a significant number of people who do get vaccinated every year. Even though there have been a few outbreaks, most people still remain safe. Plus, if you and your children are vaccinated, let your vaccination serve its purpose. Leave worry by the wayside.

Keep A Positive Attitude

One of the best ways to move forward is with a positive outlook. Hold steady to your beliefs and trust in the process. While it’s not your job to turn every anti-vaxxer, you can do your part to encourage a return to vaccination by staying positive and firm in your stance. Don’t let fear or negative attitudes bring you down. Unhappy, mean people aren’t very persuasive.

Image via Getty Images

33 comments

Mary B
Mary B7 days ago

Dr.s used to believe that smoking was good for you too. But mariguana was a gateway drug, alchal in moderation was fine, nobody needed fiber and your skin didn't absorb things. And how about leeches ? Modern science gets things wrong too. And there are always alternatives .

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson8 days ago

Thank you.

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Peter B
Peter B10 days ago

Thanks very much

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn11 days ago

Noted

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Danuta W
Danuta W11 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Kay B
Kay B11 days ago

If you are vaccinated then you are protected from disease so it doesn't matter what anybody else does. Everyone should mind their own business.

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Eugene Chattelle
Eugene Chattelle11 days ago

Herd immunity only applies to those who have had the wild form of a dis-ease, not to those who have been vaccinated, this piece of information has been taken up by the drug companies and used to promote vaccines. Do your due diligence and find out the facts!
Also it would be a good idea to take a look at how many vaccinations children are being exposed to now compared to the 1960s, its pretty alarming. We have to ask ourselves if we are truly doing the right thing for our children and for future generations ~ or are we creating a monster?
Building up the immune system is the most positive thing we can do for the health of our children for now and for the future, this means giving them good food, fresh air, and healthy attitudes to life.
We are not healthier as a result of vaccines, we have more allergies and more compromised immune systems than ever before and we are taking phenomenal amounts of medication than we ever have in our history as human beings.
We need to wake up to what we are doing in terms not just of vaccines but to diet, pesticides, herbicides, mono culture and pollution. We are becoming walking time bombs!

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Wesley Struebing
Wesley Struebing11 days ago

The don't vaacinate, I don't hang around them. Simple as that. If they ask why, I tell them.

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Sylvia B
Sylvia B11 days ago

Another thing to add to the list is to wear a bio-hazard suit whenever one is around anti-vaxxers.

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Belinda Lang
Belinda Lang11 days ago

I wish the ant-vaxxers would read Polio: An American Story. The March of Dimes contacted Jonas Salk to develop a polio vaccine. Because of that vaccine thousands of people don't have to suffer from polio, which still doesn't have a cure. Prevention with a vaccine is the way to go.

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