A New Fear: Coronavirus Vaccine
A New Fear: Coronavirus Vaccine
Since the coronavirus pandemic started countless doctors, scientists, and laypeople have been discussing the need for a vaccine. The response from health organizations and governments around the world has been one of the fastest ever mobilizations to develop a vaccine.
As the economy continues to suffer and lives are destroyed by the pandemic, wide-scale inoculation seems to be the only way out of this mess.
But distrust of vaccines continues. In the case of a coronavirus vaccine, distrust is greater than usual. The reason for this is the fast speed of its development. Some who are usually supportive of vaccines are now on the fence. Were the testing and trials enough in such a short amount of time?
A USA Today and Suffolk poll found 67% of respondents said they would forego the vaccine at least temporarily.
Where does vaccine paranoia come from?
Vaccine paranoia is nothing new. In fact, it spans hundreds of years back to the invention of vaccines around 1500. But in the modern age, vaccine paranoia began with a now-debunked 1998 study by Andrew Wakefield who claimed certain vaccines cause autism.
As it turns out, Wakefield’s study was fraught with conflict of interest and bad science. But it was too late - hysteria from the debunked study morphed into the modern anti-vaxxer movement, which in turn caused various outbreaks in several states.
False anti-vaccination beliefs contributed to the return of smallpox, measles, and other preventable diseases in recent years. Now, with Covid, a new strain of vaccine anxiety is taking hold while the old fears still run rampant.
Many are anxious about the safety of a Covid vaccine. The most commonly expressed concern? People worry that with such little time for human trials, major health repercussions may result.
Besides the usual misinformation and conspiracy theory reasons, this seems to be the one expressed by individuals usually in support of vaccinations. But there are some key points to remember as the situation develops and the first batches of vaccines are rolled out.
Is it just the needle?
Some people who are reluctant to get vaccinated might give a reason like safety or distrust, but what they are really afraid of is the injection.
Children are quick to let us know about their fear of needles, but adults may hide it behind other things. In this case, it is best to treat it as an anxiety issue. Most of us have had medical injections before, and most of us will have them again.
It might be useful for these individuals to relax, look at their anxiety in the bigger picture, and find ways to accept that some unpleasant things in life are necessary for health or other reasons.
Don’t look at the injection while it happens, and treat yourself afterward! Everyone deserves a reward for overcoming a troublesome fear. If you can’t overcome this yourself, professional help might be useful going forward as medical injections are often part of a healthy life.
People getting vaccinated are OK
From starting the trials months ago to the first inoculations happening across the globe in recent weeks, the safety and efficacy of the first Covid vaccines appear to be confirmed. Only those who are allergic to one of the ingredients have had any sort of bad reaction, and steps can be taken to minimize the risk. A vast majority of people will not have this reaction.
Every time in history that a vaccine was created, doctors were racing against time to curb a disastrous problem before more lives were lost. And in all those cases, adverse reactions were a possibility - but they turned out to be fairly minimal. These days vaccine technology is more advanced than ever so the likelihood of a bad reaction is further reduced.
Medical and scientific experts all put their full effort into finding a safe and effective vaccine, and it took nearly a year to do it. This knowledge alone may calm the nerves of someone on the fence about getting vaccinated.
So let’s say you meet with your doctor. How can healthcare workers give peace of mind?
Firstly, they are all receiving the vaccine! Doctors themselves are the first to be inoculated, and they understand at an expert level that these vaccines are not dangerous.
Administrative processes were sped up, to be sure. But NO SHORTCUTS were made in the testing and safety review process of making these vaccines.
The Mental Health Angle
From a mental health standpoint, your psychiatrist or therapist should listen to your concerns. They are well equipped to educate you about the realistic benefits of the vaccination.
It’s also important to keep yourself informed, as a doctor may not always be available. Consult trusted, authentic health organizations and news sources - and stay away from social media and politicized opinions!
Knowing more about the subject may dispel some fear and assumptions about the vaccination. The world needs to end this pandemic, and the solution is not easy or simple. But vaccination anxiety is one aspect that needs to be handled with care as it will affect our progress moving forward.
Has the coronavirus outbreak caused you mental and emotional anguish? It does not have to be this way - please reach out to a trusted mental health professional! Bregman Medical Group has decades of experience treating various disorders. We offer online treatment to your phone or laptop, just schedule an appointment at www.bregmanmd.com/appointment/ or call 305-740-3340!