The weekend is here, your fridge is stocked with cheese, and you’re eager to organise a COVID-compliant picnic with other fully vaccinated adults which your local rules stipulate. But choose your guests wisely — only fully vaccinated people can attend, and fines apply if the rules are broken.
These new rules, coming into effect in New South Wales and Victoria, place the responsibility for policing vaccination on individuals. Vaccine passports may eventually allow businesses to check people’s vaccination status on entry, but there is no app to scan before gathering for a picnic or home event.
So, how do you find out who’s vaccinated, and what do you do with that information?
But first, here are things you never say in 2021. Post continues after video.
How do you start the conversation?
Vaccination can feel like a loaded topic, something you might not want to discuss if you can avoid it. But it doesn’t have to be a minefield. We can actually take some tips about approaching tricky personal topics from the field of sexual health.
First, try to talk about vaccination before you’ve confirmed plans with someone, and before you’ve communicated the plans to others. Once you’re already at the picnic, the stakes are much higher. You’re more likely to either go along with something that doesn’t feel right to you or end up in an argument.
Offer your own vaccination status first. You could say something like:
"FYI, I got my second dose last month. These new rules mean everyone coming will have to be vaccinated. Have you had both doses? I want to make sure we’re OK to go ahead."
Keep the question casual. Asking someone’s vaccination status is reasonable in these circumstances — it isn’t because you don’t trust the person.
What if the person says no?
Don’t jump to conclusions. Depending on your relationship with the person, you may want to find out more. When approaching a conversation about COVID-19 vaccines, start with an open mind and be ready to listen.
Ask them if they’d like to talk about why they aren’t vaccinated. Maybe they have some specific concerns, maybe they’re waiting for an appointment or for a different vaccine to the one available to them now.
Let them share all their concerns before you jump in and try to answer or correct them.