Different opinions on the relationship between the COVID-19 vaccine and us

Key points

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has helped to split some relationships with loved ones in terms of vaccination.
  • Although there may be valid reasons for not being vaccinated in some cases, such decisions can have an impact.
  • Given the tensions that COVID-19 vaccination differences can cause, the relationship may require more work to maintain.

Although vaccine hesitation has diminished over time, there are still many people across the country who have not been vaccinated. The tension between people who have been vaccinated and people who have not been vaccinated may lead to rifts in some friendships and relationships with family members.

Unfortunately, these differences are even beyond the scope of the vaccine decision, because many people still refuse to wear masks or re-wear masks, which may lead to conflicts between personal and government relations.

Selective vaccination

Pam Iverson, a 44-year-old black mother, author and activist living in Atlanta, Georgia, said: “I have been fully vaccinated. All my immediate family members have been vaccinated, including my 12-year-old son. My Both my ex-husband’s family and my partner’s ex-wife’s family are part of my family’s social group, and both have been vaccinated.”

Although most of her close friends were vaccinated, Iverson admitted that some did not, because she described some people who were either on the fence or waiting for the time to pass so that they would be more comfortable and would not have serious side effects. , But some people decide to never get the COVID vaccine. “Most people in the latter group expressed distrust of the medical and scientific communities and the U.S. government,” she said.

Iverson shared that she strongly and bluntly supports the need to vaccinate a high proportion of the population, and her view that the government should enforce COVID-19 vaccination at the federal level, which led her to friends who have not been vaccinated There was some tension in the relationship. For example, when she held a small party in June, Iverson asked for a vaccination certificate to attend, which ruled out some friends who wanted to come.

Pam Iverson, writer and activist

Many people think this is a personal choice, and I should only focus on my own decision and not worry about the decisions of others. But a vaccine designed to fight the pandemic does not work on a personal level.

— Pam Iverson, writer and activist

In terms of personal relationships, Iverson said: “Some of my posts on social media prompted unvaccinated friends to reach out and ask for an opportunity to explain their decision and express their disappointment in my opinion. Many people think This is a personal choice. I should only focus on my own decisions and not worry about the decisions of others. But vaccines designed to fight the pandemic will not work on a personal level.”

Although she did not lose any friends, Iverson realized that some of her friendships had become more distant due to different views on vaccination. “In the end, I chose to share my views publicly on social media instead of continuously directly challenging my friends’ personal choices, which eased the tension. This way, they knew how I felt and were free to discuss this issue with me. ,”she says.

The decision not to vaccinate

Heather Stokes, a 38-year-old black Doula, author and activist based in Bridgeport, Connecticut, said: “I did not get vaccinated. There are several factors in my decision not to get vaccinated. First, I try to avoid medication in my daily life. I don’t have the same headaches as aspirin and prefer to use natural remedies and/or methods when I am sick. So when the vaccine came out, it was an easy choice for me.”

Stokes explained that although she claimed to be obese and diabetic, she was infected with COVID-19 and survived, which is why she is considered to be at high risk of complications from the virus, as is her 67-year-old mother . Since they all survived by using home remedies, minimal medication and not going to the hospital, Stokes strongly opposed not being vaccinated. “Third, I don’t trust our government. I don’t believe they take our best interests at heart. I believe this vaccine may cause more harm than help in the future,” she said.

Although she decided not to get vaccinated, Stokes reported that she put on a mask diligently and did not have any tension with family or friends. This is probably because she did not start discussing her choice not to get vaccinated. “If someone asks me if I have been vaccinated, my answer is that I have not been vaccinated and I have no plan to do so,” she said.

Stokes explained: “Any further conversation will be closed because I will not prove to anyone that my choice is reasonable. I have some colleagues accusing me of not caring about their health, but my boss supports me. Choice, so it’s important to me. I’m not against anyone else choosing to be vaccinated. I believe that people should do things that make them comfortable, and do what’s best for them, their families, and their bodies.”

VigorTip Mind discourages the use of COVID-19 treatments that have not been approved by the FDA and urges all qualified people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Borders can help

Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a New York-based neuropsychologist and Columbia University faculty member, said: “Unfortunately, wearing masks and getting COVID-19 vaccine has become highly politicized. Therefore, discussions about vaccines and masks will end up in some This is related to politics to a certain degree, which may cause tension or damage to your intimate relationship.”

Sanam Hafeez, PhD in Psychology

If someone says they don’t want to speak anymore, please respect their wishes. Never admonish, threaten, or humiliate someone you love because they have different opinions.

— Sanam Hafeez, PhD in Psychology

Hafeez explained that it is possible to save the relationship between relatives who hold different views on the COVID-19 vaccine and wear masks, because when your belief system is attacked or challenged, it can help you avoid taking defensive measures as much as possible. It’s about establishing boundaries. “For example, you should talk to your loved ones about topics you feel comfortable with and topics you don’t want to discuss,” she said.

Hafez said that especially in the case of bad tempers, it is wise to plan in advance how to deal with such challenges, such as a joint decision to take a step back until both sides calm down. “Also, try to share your story. Talk about why you get vaccinated or wear a mask, and ask your loved ones to ask you questions,” she said.

Hafeez explained: “This way, you can figure out the concerns of your loved ones, and you can admit that it is normal to feel worried. Then, address these issues and the reasons for getting vaccinated or wearing a mask. You also need to listen. Listen. The worries of your loved ones, and empathize with them.”

If relatives express that they are hesitant to vaccinate because the vaccine is being developed too quickly, Hafeez recommends helping them understand the facts and lead them to legal sources, as well as know when to stop the conversation. “If someone says they don’t want to talk anymore, please respect their wishes. Never admonish, threaten or humiliate someone you love because they have different opinions,” she said.

Listen with empathy

Ariel Landrum, MA, LMFT is a registered marriage and family therapist and certified art therapist of Guidance Teletherapy. He said: “The differences between vaccines and wearing masks have caused the relationship between family and friends to crack, break or even break. About how Different views on dealing with the current pandemic, especially in the United States, are characterized by polarization, rather than exploring the scope of differences.”

For individuals who wish to save their relationship during this frustrating period, Landrum recommends listening with empathy to make an informed decision. “Allowing friends and family to share openly, and trying to listen to sharing with empathy, will help repair the injured relationship. Remember, empathy does not mean we agree or complacent; it means we are willing to let others’ Feeling being heard and understood because they are valuable,” she said.

Landrum explained that open-ended questions, permissioned information sharing, and honesty can all help. “A common mistake many people make during these difficult times is to try to formulate a solution by bombarding their loved ones with new information. They will share websites, articles, videos, interviews, and data in an attempt to persuade their loved ones to change their views on certain issues. Stand,” she said.

Ariel Landrum, MA, LFMT

Most people seem to be doing what they think is best for themselves and the people they care about. This basic understanding of motivation can help us reconcile some differences.

— Ariel Landrum, MA, LFMT

Landrum said: “Unfortunately, this has the opposite effect. Usually, that person ignores the shared information, may interrupt communication, retaliate with his own data, or turn to ridicule. On the contrary, after establishing trust, in order to To maintain it, we must ask permission to share new information. We must include asking them if they are willing to accept the new information and what is the best way for them to receive the information.”

In terms of building trust, Landrum emphasized that friends and family will not actively try to harm themselves or others. “Most people seem to be doing what they think is best for themselves and the people they care about. This basic understanding of motivation can help us reconcile some differences,” she said.

Landrum said: “We also have to believe in ourselves, so by establishing boundaries between friends and family, we will no longer be able to use spiritual and emotional labor to reconcile with them. Although the ultimate goal may be to repair the damage to the relationship. But we must also admit that when there is no longer a relationship that needs to be repaired.”

What this means to you

Maintaining a strained relationship with loved ones in COVID-19 decisions can be challenging, but there are some strategies that can help save the relationship. Listening with empathy, asking open-ended questions, and setting boundaries are all worth considering. Especially considering the pressure of this global pandemic, in these difficult times, relationships with family and friends may require more effort to maintain.