We must have these conversations

Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, MACP President & CEO National Hispanic Medical Association

By Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, MACP

President & CEO National Hispanic Medical Association


As COVID-19 cases rise among persons who are not vaccinated against this disease, it is more important than ever to talk with your

loved ones and members of your community about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The stakes are too high to ignore it any

longer— we must have these conversations, no matter how scary they might seem.


When discussing the importance of COVID-19 vaccines, research shows that as soon as one begins to feel personally blamed

or attacked, the person often stops listening altogether. It is important to be clear about what you want to discuss while also

listening closely to the concerns of those you are talking to and respond with compassion rather than give up the conversation.


We should increase confidence by emphasizing the evidence from research studies that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and

effective, free, and don’t require insurance. We must clearly counter the harmful disinformation narratives that run rampant

in our community. 


The data do not lie: the Delta variant is far more transmissible than the original COVID-19 variant, but vaccines provide significant

protection against the virus. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “the reported share of COVID-19 cases among those not fully

vaccinated ranged from 94.1% in Arizona to 99.85% Connecticut.”


Along with trusted doctors and community leaders, we should all continue to work together to educate our families and others about the

need to get COVID-19 vaccinations to keep them from going to the hospital. 


* For more information, go to NHMA’s website at nhmamd.org. 

Established in 1994, the National Hispanic Medical Association is a non-profit association dedicated to empowering Hispanic physicians

to help eliminate health disparities and improve Hispanic Health.