Professor explains how to convince unvaccinated people to get the vaccine

Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ken Resnicow, appeared on The Weekend With Joshua Johnson Sunday, where he explained how to convince unvaccinated people to get the COVID-19 vaccine with a technique called motivational interviewing.

“Let them express their anger, their mistrust, their doubts, and then reflect it back with ‘you statements,’” Resnicow said. “‘You’re worried that the government is trying to force this on people. You don’t trust the public health system. You’re not convinced that the disease is as scary as people say.’ Those ‘you statements’ without judgement, without trying to persuade, send a meta-message that I’m trying to understand you, I’m not gonna judge you and I’m not gonna push you.”

Resnicow said the important first step is to listen to whatever grievances and concerns a person has, and let them know they’ve been heard. He also said it’s important to keep whatever anger or frustration you may be feeling toward the unvaccinated to yourself.

“We know from hundreds of randomized trials that that type of communication, guilt and shame or pressure, are not gonna move the unpersuaded. We have to do things like affirm. Things like, ‘You really care about understanding this vaccine. You’ve really tried to figure it out. You value your independence. God is important to you.’ It’s important to establish that bridge between you two before you try to persuade or in any way inform,” Resnicow said. “And we understand it takes some psychological discipline because human nature is aligned with what you (Johnson) just said, where some people are getting frustrated with the unvaccinated. It’s not gonna help.”