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How to Talk With Clients about COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Youth

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, youth and young adult vaccination rates remain below what is needed to keep our communities safest. Encouraging young adults to get the vaccine and encouraging parents to get it for their eligible children have both become major priorities. Below are tips and resources from the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM) that can support you in navigating conversations about COVID-19 vaccinations with young adults and parents.

Tip #1: Prepare to answer questions about the vaccine

As COVID-19 vaccine eligibility continues to expand to younger age groups, client-facing staff are increasingly being asked questions about vaccinations for children and youth. NRC-RIM’s conversation guides contain scripted responses for these commonly asked questions, as well as questions about new variants such as the Delta variant. In addition, NRC-RIM has created a Fact Sheet titled Get the Facts: Protect Your Child. Protect Your Community (translations coming soon). This fact sheet contains information on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine and highlights what parents can expect once their child is vaccinated.

Tip #2: Practice navigating the vaccine conversation

Engaging in the vaccine conversation with clients can be tricky, especially with the evolving COVID-19 guidelines and recommendations. One method for approaching the vaccine conversation can be summarized using the acronym NORTH:

Normal Assure clients that it is normal to have these questions and concerns.
Open-ended Ask open-ended questions to better understand concerns. For example, if a client expresses concerns about the vaccine, you can ask questions such as, “what have you been hearing?” and “where do you normally get information about COVID-19?” to learn more.
Resources Share resources from trusted, reputable sources.
Together Work together. It isn’t your job to convince the client to get the vaccine. Instead, you should work together to ensure the client has the information they need to make the best decision for themselves and their family.
Honest Be honest. You can share personal experiences and/or reasons why you chose to get the vaccine. It is okay not to know all the answers! You can offer to help look for resources.

For more tips on how to strengthen your skills in navigating the vaccine conversation, including an example roleplay focused on vaccinations for children and youth and the Delta variant, please see NRC-RIM’s Practical Approaches for Discussing COVID-19 Vaccines with Clients, Part II Webinar. The recording, slides, and role play script used in the webinar are all available on the NRC-RIM website.

Tip #3: Meet communities where they are

To decrease some of the barriers that refugee communities face in accessing COVID-19 vaccines and information, one strategy is to meet the communities where they are with vaccine information, resources, and mobile vaccine clinics. Whether it is promoting COVID-19 vaccination efforts through sports events or partnering with public libraries in COVID-19 vaccine rollout, these promising practices help to reduce major access barriers that communities are facing.

If you need a resource but don’t see it, or your agency needs technical assistance on engaging with clients around COVID-19 and the vaccine, contact the NRC-RIM team at nrcim@umn.edu.  

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