The Alaska Division of Public Health sent a March 26 email to educators, healthcare providers and others around the state to equip and enlist them in addressing what it calls the “constant and growing problem” of vaccine hesitancy.

Above, is the tip sheet sent to Alaska educators and health care workers to help them convince people to get vaccinated.

The notice includes marketing tools and tips to try and convince Alaskans that the COVID shot is nothing to be concerned about.

Sent by Patrick Sidmore, a healthy schools specialist with the Alaska Division of Public Health, the email includes a cheat sheet with dozens of tactics on what to say to those who are resistant to getting vaccinated.

One section deals with people of faith. It advises telling conservative Baptists that “Trump called the vaccine a ‘Christmas Miracle.’” For African American Baptists it recommends pointing out that Rev. Damon Williams said, “ignore myths and get vaccinated.” A strategy for Catholics is to mention that “the Pope got Pfizer.” Muslims could be told, “Quran says whoever saves a human life is as if he saved mankind,” the flyer states, and many Jews might be convinced by saying, “only the ultra-orthodoxy is not supporting vaccination.” A suggested tactic for Mormons is to convince them by saying, “All 8 leaders of CLDS were vaccinated and want members to do so as soon as they are able.”

In general, the tip sheet promotes the use of stories with “happy endings.”

To deal with people who are hesitant for other reasons, the tip sheet proposes telling personal stories about how the vaccine makes you “happy.” To convert those on the fence the flyer advises telling them they have options, all of which entail eventually getting vaccinated: “get it now, schedule it for next week, or schedule it for next month, your choice!”

Another option is to warn people about how scarce the vaccine is: “e.g., not everyone has access to this; we are so lucky to have it now for your; you are worth it!”

For those more difficult more opposed to vaccination, the tip sheet advises alternative methods.

“Poverty is the enemy here; we need to get our economy fully opened up and countries will do that when vaccination rates are high,” one bullet point notes.

Another says: “This is our generation’s WWII and every vaccination is a step toward V-day!”

Appealing to personal regret is another method in the flyer. “It seems unlikely to get seriously sick, until suddenly it happens; it seems random who will get Covid but if it happens to you or your family it would be heart-breaking,” it states.

In general, the tip sheet promotes the use of stories with “happy endings.”

When people point out that COVID recommendations are in constant flux, the tip sheet says the best route is to frame the many changes as “continual improvement.”

The email concludes with several tops from the CDC such as encouraging community leaders to be “vaccine champions, using “channels that people trust,” and making “visible your decision to get vaccinated and celebrate it!”

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‘A gift from God’: State offers tactics to sway Alaskans to get COVID shots

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.