Doctor talks about ways to win over vaccine skeptics

With cases of the Delta variant on the rise across the United States doctors are very concerned for people who haven't gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.

"If you are unvaccinated you are much less protected than before because now you're in gatherings, things are back open," said Dr. Asha Shajahan.

According to the state more than 62 percent of Michiganders have gotten their first shot. Primary care Dr. Shajahan works at Beaumont in Grosse Pointe.

"If someone is not getting vaccinated it's not because they want to hurt other people it's not because they're selfish or because they want to get sick it's because they're making the best decision for themselves," said Shajahan.

Shajahan is noticing a lot of people still have concerns about the vaccine.

"Some people just really don't trust the vaccine, others just don't have accurate information, other people don't even know where to get it and still don't feel like they have convenient access," Shajahan said.

The doctor says if you have loved ones who still haven't gotten the vaccine yet there is a specific approach she uses on patients.

"Many times people who are vaccinated, or people who are promoting the vaccine, they tend to meet people with judgments and that just doesn't help," Shajahan said.

Shajahan says the most important thing is to start a conversation with compassion.

"Always look for connection - what is it the person is considering, do they have a lack of good information, is fear driving them, is mistrust driving them? What is 'the why,'" she said.

Shajahan then says empower people to make their own decisions. She's seen her approach work.

"I've seen that my clinic many times people have been extremely vaccine-hesitant, I have maybe 5 to 10-minute conversation and I get a message a couple days later saying 'Hey doc, I got the vaccine," she said.

While Shajahan has a lot of answers to her patients' questions, she's also learned something from seeing vaccine hesitancy firsthand.

"What I realized is that, when you don't have all the medical facts you're going to more likely lean towards not getting vaccinated," she said. "Once you get all the medical facts,s and you understand the benefits of the vaccine, most people are like, 'Sign me up.'"