Start by listening.
Let a friend air all her worries without jumping in to contradict her. “She needs to feel heard,” says Ernst. “If she says, ‘Here’s why I don’t get a flu shot’ and you respond, ‘But scientists have shown… ’ you’re just going to play whack-a-mole with her concerns.”
Think about the fear behind her fears.
“A lot of women are wary of vaccines after a traumatic birth experience, which can make them distrust doctors,” notes Ernst. A friend might be dealing with a health situation in her family or may have recently lost a loved one.
Share why vaccines matter to you.
Explain that you’re worried for your baby, who’s too young for all her shots, or for an immunecompromised friend undergoing chemo. “If we make it personal, it’s much easier to connect,” Ernst says.