One of the most effective ways to be a vaccine advocate is to speak directly with government officials and their staff. By putting a face to a cause, it’s easier for people to see the direct impact policies can have on a community.
Recently, Hoosiers Vaccinate advocates Patrick and Colleen had the opportunity to meet with Indiana State Senator Justin Busch. Patrick discussed the work the Indiana Immunization Coalition and Hoosiers Vaccinate do, while Colleen spoke about her son’s immunodeficiency and why it’s important that everyone around him that can be vaccinated, is vaccinated. Sharing personal stories is an effective way to advocate; people often aren’t aware that those who cannot be vaccinated for various reasons are basically “sitting ducks” for disease outbreaks.
Reaching out to a government official to set a meeting may seem daunting, but it’s actually easier than you think! Here are the steps that will help get you there:
Step 1: Indiana residents can visit this site to find the names of your Representatives. After you enter your address, it will give you the contact information for your State Representative and State Senator.
Step 2: Send an email requesting a meeting. If you’re not sure what to say, something as simple as, “My name is _______, I am one of your constituents and I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to tell you about Hoosiers Vaccinate, and discuss the importance of immunizations for all Hoosiers.”
Step 3: Do your homework. Prepare a list of talking points so you make sure to cover the key issues you want to discuss and bring any resources you think may be beneficial. You may also want to bring some materials to leave behind.
Step 4: At the meeting, explain why you are advocating, tell your personal story, and back up your position with data and facts. Vaccinate Your Family is an excellent resource to find easy-to-explain data.
Step 5: After the meeting, send an email thanking them for taking the time to speak with you, and sum up the information you discussed. You can also include links to the Hoosiers Vaccinate website and/or attachments of relevant data.
That’s it! If you’d like more tips about how to meet with your Rep or to advocate, contact us today – we’re happy to help!