Updated: August 23, 2021
This guide is intended to help diversity professionals and employee resource groups (ERG) lead productive conversations with employees and workers about COVID-19 vaccines.
Because these groups represent networks of employees with shared experience, they can be powerful places for delivering information, building trust and supporting colleagues who may need extra help accessing vaccines.
This is a conversation, not a debate. It’s not your job to convince people to get vaccinated. Rather, you’re sharing information to help them make their decision. Be positive, inviting and respectful. Acknowledge “the choice is yours to make with your doctor or health care provider.”
Acknowledge that it’s OK for everyone—even you—to have questions about vaccines. Don’t talk down to people, lecture or make people feel guilty. Instead, be understanding, positive and hopeful. Also, acknowledge that your members may have either been directly impacted by COVID-19 or have lost someone they care about to the virus.
People may be concerned about the vaccine for different reasons, from historic and current racism in health care, to concerns about the safety of the vaccine, to misinformation and rumors spreading on social media. Ask questions to reveal the source of concern, then offer facts.
Don’t just say, “The science is solid.” Provide facts about the safety and efficacy of vaccines using the talking points provided below, and provide information about your company’s vaccine policies. Remember, you shouldn’t give medical advice, so encourage people with more advanced questions to talk with their doctor or health care provider. Finally, be sure to speak plainly and in a manner everyone will understand.
Show how vaccinations can help us get back to the things we love, like connecting with others, spending time with family and friends, and getting businesses up and running. Some people may feel fear or mistrust. Others may be frustrated by the new variants or shifting public health guidance on masks. Listen for these feelings and share facts to help people work through their concerns and frustration.
“Hesitancy” has made headlines, which may be reinforcing some people’s concerns if they perceive that “no one like me is getting vaccinated.” Instead, as more people get vaccinated, ask them to share their stories with others. Hearing from someone who’s already been vaccinated—why and how they decided, what it was like and how they got the vaccine—is one of the best ways to put others at ease. Celebrate the people who have taken this step for their health and the health of others.
Share why you’re vaccinated and why vaccines are important to you and your family.
Some people may need a lot of information or need to hear or read the same information multiple times. Continue to steer them to GetVaccineAnswers.org and Vaccines.gov, and also continue to encourage them to talk to their doctor. Also, be ready for people who are holding tight to myths and may challenge you—just keep calmly reiterating the facts.
Approach each conversation with respect for your members’ lived experiences. Be authentic and hold space for employees who may not be ready to continue the conversation.
The vaccines available today are authorized by the FDA after meeting the agency’s rigorous requirements for safety and efficacy, as shown in clinical testing. They have been studied in clinical trials in large and diverse groups of people, of various ages, gender identities, races and ethnicities. In clinical trials for approved COVID-19 vaccines:
Yes. DHS and its federal government partners fully support equal access to COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites for undocumented immigrants. Additionally:
Public health guidance on COVID-19 is consistently evolving. Health Action Alliance is committed to regularly updating our materials once we've engaged public health, business and communications experts about the implications of new guidance from the public health community and effective business strategies that align with public health goals.