My Parents are Antivaxxers, Now What?

By: Lilo

Antivaxx parents (an informal noun)

–       A person who is opposed to vaccination, typically a parent who refuses to vaccinate their child 

The Child (noun)

–       The offspring of the aforementioned antivaxxer who wants to live their full life without worrying about life-threatening viruses. 

Over time, we have been exposed to many different illnesses. Historically, we’ve seen the devastation of the bubonic plague, and modernly lived through our own personal hell of a pandemic. With these recurring moments in history, we are met time and time again with familiar characters; those who are eager to get the vaccination – when provided – to solve the issue and regain a sense of normalcy and those who many of us have encountered at least one, who refuse to get vaccinated for a plethora of reasons; the most popular excuse being “we don’t know what’s in the vaccine”. Baby, you don’t know what’s in a hot dog either but I see you at every barbeque scarfing one down. 

So how to deal with an anti-vaxxer?

 Well, there’s many ways one could go about this- the fun way and the way that leaves us with the least charges against us. Go about it calmly and remember you have nothing to prove, if they truly are set in their beliefs. Take it one fact at the time and help them understand that at least in the context of a global pandemic how risky it is to be un-vaccinated. Reason with them and use their wants and needs in life to make the idea so much more attractive to them, if they won’t understand ‘for the health of everyone else’ standpoint they can at least get it from a ‘what’s in it for me’ standpoint. Which means, make them hyper aware of the freedoms that come with getting your vaccination card- the limitations lifted and the access to places that are vaccine-exclusive. If they’re still adamant on their stance, wish them a happy death day ❤

But what can I do when the person in question is my parent?

This one is a little harder to navigate, your parents have a bigger role in your life and you’ve built some form of respect with them. Unfortunately, having an opposing opinion to your parents in our culture could mean disrespect, and lead to a hostile environment. So take it easy, sit them down over kasat chai, and tell them how you, as a person, don’t need to reflect every single decision they make. Use your ethos! Chances are your parents have a soft spot somewhere, for what you have to say to them. This might be on the manipulative side, but if anything, it’s a nudge for them to realize the weight of the situation at hand and how dire it truly is. Reiterate time and time again, that you’re different people, and living in different times than when they were your age. We have access to more reliable research at our fingertips.

At the end of the day- you have to continue to remind them that you *are* capable of making your own decisions. If you’re required to know what you want to do with your life from now on, I think you can take on the responsibility of wanting to live out your choices. 

In the context of the global pandemic, we are currently living through, reminding them that the numbers on the news every night are people, the numbers reflect living souls- or what once was. While it’s harsh and slightly terrifying to think about, it is the truth of the matter, the pandemic has taken way too many lives internationally. Let them know that if there’s a way to save what we still have before it’s gone – you’re willing to take it, and you hope they can too – because the last thing you want is to have your loved ones become the numbers on the screen. 

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