The rollout of the Covid vaccine has brought with it many feelings of relief, but also, many feelings of anxiety. If you are feeling anxious about receiving the Covid vaccine, this is totally normal, and many people are feeling the same way. This vaccine is new and unfamiliar, which ultimately means it will take time for some people to become comfortable with receiving the vaccine.
In an interview, John Whyte, Chief Medical Officer at WebMD, and Dr. Mena Mirhom, a board certified psychiatrist at Columbia University, discuss the feelings of anxiety surrounding the Covid vaccine. Whyte and Mirhom mention that some of the questions brought up by the uncertainty of the vaccine are, “What could be going on? Could there be side effects that we don't know? Is this going to be worth the risk?”. People are increasingly anxious because of the many “what if” scenarios that encompass the Covid vaccine.
Moreover, on top of the uncertainty about the covid vaccine, the world is already in a state of turmoil. Due to the pandemic taking place in the midst of an election, Covid has been greatly politicized, making straight forward answers even more difficult to come by. Another great point brought up in the interview between Whyte and Mirhom is that the political turmoil and anxiety about the vaccine has caused a great amount of mistrust between the public and political/pharmaceutical officials. This adds yet another veil of stress over the already exhausting pandemic.
So, with that being said, how can you reduce your vaccine anxiety?
It is so important that we have open conversations about the vaccine with our peers, regardless of our political beliefs. It’s when we stop having ongoing conversations that the stress of the pandemic can become overwhelming. An unwillingness to talk about the pandemic and the vaccine will only cause more anxiety. Another way to reduce vaccine anxiety is to turn off the news every once in a while. If you have questions about the vaccine, you should ask your doctor or a medical professional. Control where you get your information from. When you look online, resort to the news, or ask your peers, or use all three outlets at once, then you may end up getting a variety of different answers which will only make your anxiety about the vaccine worse. Ask a medically trained professional that can give you a well-educated answer. Focus on the things in your life that you can control, and be proud of yourself that you’ve made it through the last year. While the vaccine may be scary and intimidating, be reminded that you have endured worse this past year.