An epidemiologist at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health has gone viral after posting a helpful Twitter thread for anyone who has to talk with "vaccine-hesitant people."
Dr. Maria Sundaram, the epidemiologist in question, tweeted out advice for understanding and communicating with people who are nervous about or opposed to the vaccine.
How to talk with vaccine-hesitant people: a thread for epidemiologists & humans in general, on what the research su… https://t.co/ColEQIoVAI— Maria Sundaram, PhD (@Maria Sundaram, PhD)1607366607.0
Dr. Sundaram recommends people start from a position of empathy — recognizing the other person's fears and concerns about vaccines and interacting with them on a human level.
"Being a real person can also help establish common ground," she writes.
"If you both have kids, great! If you both love the same musical artist, great! If you both are sick of being cooped up, great! Commiseration is a balm."
Dr. Sundaram says it's important to directly address their concerns and not pretend to know the answer to every question they may have.
And being funny can help, as long as you're laughing together and not at someone's expense.
Dr. Sundaram says you shouldn't try and convince someone who's already made their mind up: "Be kind & let it go," she writes.
The original tweet in the thread has well over 4,000 retweets and over 13,000 likes — a reaction which Dr. Sundaram calls "crazy."
"Obviously I didn't expect it to be this big. I'm super gratified that some people out there find it helpful, and I hope it continues to be helpful," she told Narcity via Twitter.
*This story has been updated.