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How to have tough conversations about the COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine is leading to uncomfortable conversations between family and friends. So how can you deal with these tough discussions?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Doctors and health leaders in the Carolinas continue to emphasize that vaccines are our way out of the pandemic, but it's not that simple for many.

It's leading to uncomfortable conversations between family and friends. So how can you deal with these tough discussions?

Our sources for this story are the CDC and William Doherty, a therapist and professor at the University of Minnesota. Doherty said the most important place to start is having mutual respect.

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“It's important not to just try to overwhelm somebody with what you consider the truth even if it's probably the truth," Doherty said. "Everybody has reasons to get the vaccine or not and they're largely based on their perceptions of their own risks." 

If a loved one does express concern about the vaccine, the CDC recommends asking open-ended questions. They also say try not to sound judgmental.

“We are much more apt to hear I'm worried for you than we are, you're wrong,” Doherty said. 

And then it comes to dealing with misinformation, approach those conversations with caution.

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"You can talk about your concerns for misinformation, but do it personally," he said. "Don't sound like you're a journalism professor to your friend or your relatives." 

Everyone gets vaccinated for different reasons, so the CDC recommends steering the conversation there. They say help your friends or family find their own reason to get vaccinated. 

Contact Sarah French at Sarah@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

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