Wake County offers 'boot camp' to learn how to talk to those reluctant to get vaccinated

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- So you've been vaccinated but you know people who are hesitant to get the vaccine.

Experts say preaching to them or talking down to them is not the way to help increase the rate of vaccinations.

So how exactly do you address their hesitancy?

Wake County officials are offering what they call a vaccination boot camp to help arm you with information and techniques that could encourage those who haven't been vaccinated to get the shot.

"I did come across a lot of people that they were not comfortable to get vaccinated, or maybe they did not trust a vaccine," said Hind Laraj of Raleigh. "There are a lot of questions out there."

That's why Laraj is taking the boot camp seminar this week.

She is a social worker and has already organized a meeting for her fellow Muslims and others who speak Arabic to ask questions of a doctor about the pandemic.

She wants to learn how to properly address the concerns of those who still haven't been vaccinated.

She even did some role-playing in Thursday's seminar.

Earlier this week in the first part of the seminar, she learned facts about the vaccine.

On Thursday, she learned how to talk to people about it.

"You cannot be angry to anybody because everybody has their own beliefs. Some people they take time before they can digest it," she said.

One of the boot camp instructors, Lwiza Escobar Garcia agreed.

"The most important thing I repeat throughout that second day is listening, right?" Escobar Garcia said. "Really, you know, honestly, putting your guard down, putting down your judgment and taking a second and really listening to people's concerns."

Only after the vaccine hesitant know you truly care about their feelings will they be willing to accept your input, according to Escobar Garcia.

"Once someone feels heard, then you have an opportunity to kind of share all this new information you've learned and hopefully create some space for them," she said.

So if you want to make a meaningful contribution in moving the needle further toward herd immunity, attend the boot camp.

It's pretty humbling to know that the skills you learn could actually save a life.
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