As the news of a vaccine that combats COVID-19 spread, many people’s anxiety increased as well. Your feelings are valid and it’s okay to feel anxious and panic during this time.
In early december of 2020, the centers of disease control and prevention (cdc) announced that healthcare workers will be the firsts to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the USA. The Pfizer and Moderna are the first two vaccines available, however Janssen, Astrazeneca, and Novavax will also be available sometime in 2021. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown to be 94-95% effective in the latest clinical trials. everyone who gets the vaccine will need two doses to fight against the virus, which will be given 21-28 days apart. as of December 10th, 2020, this vaccine has not been tried on expecting women or children under the age of 12, hence will not be given to anyone who falls under either category.
The news of a vaccine that combats COVID-19 has spread both joy and fear equally throughout populations. In this post, we will be discussing the anxiety around getting the vaccine, how to deal with it. and the truth around the assumptions that bring the most fear.
The main point of skepticism is around the fact that most vaccines take many years to develop and it’s only been a little over a year since COVID-19 started in the world and less than a year in the United States. Therefore, many people assume that the vaccine was rushed and a safe vaccination is not promised. This causes anxiety because you don’t know if taking the vaccine is actually safe.
However, according to UC Health, scientists didn’t just start from scratch. Years of research was already done with similar viruses, such as SARS and MERS. The reason trials were able to be completed in a shorter time was because of how widespread COVID-19 is. No steps of creating the vaccine have been skipped nor rushed.
Another point that can potentially trigger anxiety is the fact that the vaccine contains the material that causes COVID-19 in the first place. Well, that’s simply how MRNA based vaccines work and both Pfizer and Moderna are MRNA, not vector, based. This is the process of how the vaccine works to get an idea:
Since the vaccine contains material that causes the virus, it is able to make an harmless protein that is unique to the virus.
After the cells make a copy of the protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine.
Our bodies recognize that the protein should not be there and therefore create white blood cells that are specialized to combat the virus.
Furthermore, more anxiety can be experienced by people who are allergic to the flu vaccine and assume that they will be allergic to the Corona one as well. Most people who are allergic to flu vaccines are so because the vaccines contain egg-based products. The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain such products, according to the CDC.
Social Media Exaggerations
Unfortunately, social media is full of rumors and “fake news”. Such news can increase anxiety and panic among the audience, especially when it comes to something as controversial as a vaccine. A recent social media posting went viral that claimed that 6 people had died from the vaccine.
It’s important to know that the rumor was false. Yes, 6 people died while in the trails but only 2 actually took the vaccine while the other 4 were trying some other method that unfortunately did not work. Therefore, 2 people did die of the vaccine, which is why the success rate is not 100%.
How to Combat Vaccine Anxiety
- Do your research and do not believe everything you see on the internet
- Think about the benefits compared to the risks
- Future anxiety is not uncommon so make sure to search up activities that you can practice to deal with it, such as meditation, manifestation, etc.