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  • Nikki Mantell

Make friends with the ‘vaccine-hesitant’

It feels like a miracle when we do things right here in Quebec, especially in the field of healthcare, but there you have it: projections show Quebec will achieve a vaccination rate of 80 per cent by this fall. Hallelujah. We all know that we have to reach the all-important number of 75 per cent if we want to get our normal lives back, and the fact we are set to exceed expectations merits a cheer.


But hold up — here in the Outaouais we are lagging. Our vaccination rate to date is the lowest in the province; the recent tally of people who have received their first dose at 66 per cent compared to the provincial average of 71 per cent.


According to CISSSO it is the 18 to 39 age group with the lowest rate. The director of Public Health is desperate to get the word out to anyone who is holding out that it is crucial they do their part — not only so we can reach that crucial number of 75 per cent, but for their own safety against the more deadly variants.


Only those living under a rock are oblivious to the rising tension between those of us desperate to get this virus under control and resume a normal life and those who don’t want to get vaccinated. In the Gatineau Hills, we have an abundance of free-thinkers and people who believe strongly in holistic and alternative health practices.

Local discussions on social media also reveal that we have a surprising (maybe not so surprising) number of conspiracy theorists. Much has been written on the topic of how to address people shy to get the jab. The general advice about the anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists: don’t bother. There is no changing the minds of those already down myriad rabbit holes of disinformation campaigns plaguing the internet.


But the “vaccine-hesitant” – those who are still unsure, worried, confused, or just procrastinating for various reasons – are worth your time, and there are many in our community.


Here’s a truncated list of ways to talk to the vaccine-hesitant suggested by experts in a recent article in the Globe and Mail: