We all know someone or know of someone who is an anti-vaxxer. Sometimes, we have the energy for the debates but most times, we let it go.
However, as much as we should respect people’s choices, it is important that we get herd immunity. And with the new Covid-19 variant Omicron, we need it now more than ever.
Herd immunity makes it possible to protect the entire population from Covid-19, including those who can't be vaccinated, such as newborns and those who have compromised immune systems. In the bigger scheme of things, vaccination is for them, not only for us.
If you are getting tired of the 5G and tracking microchip arguments, you are not the only one. Here are a few comebacks you can use when speaking to an anti-vaxxer.
If they say: “5G spreads Covid-19.”
You say: “Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. Besides, Covid-19 is spreading in countries that do not have 5G mobile networks, so how does it get spread via 5G?”
If they say: “A microchip is inside the vaccine, tracking your every move.”
You say: “You posted about your cat minutes ago on Facebook and Instagram, Karen.”
If they say: “Why should I get it if everyone else is?”
You say: “The more people say this, the slimmer are our chances of achieving herd immunity. We need herd immunity for people who cannot get vaccinated. If you and thousands more are saying the same thing, babies and the elderly are going to be the ones suffering because of your selfishness.”
If they say: “It’s just a water. It’s not a real vaccine”
You say: “If it’s just water, you should have no problem taking it then.”
If they say: "I don't know what’s in the vaccine"
You say: “Well, you don’t know exactly what is in that burger but here we are. The vaccine contains weakened or inactive parts of the virus that will trigger an immune response within the body.”
If they say: “I am scared of side effects.”
Unlike the 5G and tracking chip arguments, this is a genuine and understandable concern. Explain that while one may experience mild to severe symptoms after being vaccinated, no one in South Africa has died from the vaccine. Explain that while the vaccine minimises your chances of death from Covid-19, by being vaccinated, you are protecting those who cannot be vaccinated.
What to remember when talking to sceptic or anti-vaxxer
It is important to note that just because a person is not vaccinated does not mean they are an anti-vaxxer. Maybe they are hesitant, maybe they have fears about side effects or maybe they just missed their appointment.
Know who you are talking to
First, it is important to understand where they are coming from. It might be more difficult to talk to anti-vaxxers, but others might just be hesitant or cautious. Knowing why they are not taking the vaccine will help you present your arguments better.
Try to be civil
Yes, it is infuriating to talk to someone who just called you a “sheeple” and “brainwashed”, but you don’t have stoop to their level. Be civil and present the facts to tackle misinformation.
Avoid arguing in the comment section
As much as it is tempting to blast your anti-vaxxer friend (that is, if they still your friend), on social media, rather let it all out in a message instead of on their Facebook post. Not only is confronting people on social media not helpful but it can antagonise others.