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I helped a friend decide to get vaccinated. You can do the same.

For many years, family dinners were a regular part of our schedule. Our family—a group of friends—gathered for dinner, drinks, conversation, and a ton of laughs. The more the merrier. 

Then COVID-19 arrived. We all retreated and missed out on one another’s lives for more than a year. We stayed physically distant. We lost connection.

Slowly reconnecting.

After more than a year, we had some catching up to do.

I got the COVID-19 vaccine—Team Pfizer!—as soon as I was eligible. As more of our friends got vaccinated, we decided to resume our get-togethers. 

For the last month, we’ve spent Thursday evenings outside reconnecting. We shared stories of struggles through isolation, crazy work schedules, and all the new things in our lives.

And, of course, we celebrated the vaccine. 

Anne Dillon

Talking public health.

One of our friends hadn’t gotten vaccinated yet. We listened to his questions, concerns, and misconceptions. He asked about data and details on effectiveness. We told him his chances of getting COVID-19 were low if vaccinated and his chance of becoming hospitalized or worse is almost zero. 

He didn’t know where he could get vaccine, believing he needed to get a doctor’s appointment or on a waiting list. That hit me hard since—as part of the Health Department’s communications team during the pandemic response—I’ve spent more than a year sharing our messages across the county, virtually everywhere.

One of our recent messages is COVID-19 vaccines are free and readily available all over. Yet, someone in my own backyard didn’t know where to go.

We can do better.

That night, I shared our website, tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture, and told him he could find his vaccine first thing in the morning. I thought he brushed me off.

Here for the party.

The next week we gathered again.

As my friend brought out snacks he said, “Hey, guess what? I’m Team Pfizer, too! I got my shot yesterday. Thanks for talking to me last week. I was never against it, I just needed to talk it out with someone who could give me real facts. I don’t want to miss out on anything. I’m here for the party.” 

On tap for summer: Concerts, sports, travel—and more family dinners.

Family dinners weren’t the only reason my friend got vaccinated. But having a connection to a friend—a reliable source—sure helped start the conversation.

We have all sorts of things planned this summer: concerts postponed from last year, full-capacity sporting events and fewer travel restrictions. With more people getting vaccinated and case counts declining, we’ll likely get to keep our plans—and feel safer enjoying them.

Our family dinners will feel more like reconnecting and we will plan new adventures.

Help your loved ones learn about COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines are new. Many people have questions about them. Your loved ones know and trust you, which makes you a great source of reliable information.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers great advice for talking to your friends and family about COVID-19 vaccine. You can also read through our frequently asked questions about the vaccines.

Remember to listen with empathy, not judgement. If the people you talk to decide to get vaccinated, you can point them to our website to find their simple and free dose. They can also call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week, except holidays.

The pandemic isn’t behind us yet. More people must get vaccinated to protect our community. Please consider talking to the people you care about and help us get back to more of the things we’ve missed, one dose at a time.