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4 Fears to Overcome About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Correcting anxious thinking about the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently compiled several reasons why people may refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The CDC calls these myths, but they might be considered thinking errors.

Below are four thinking errors about the vaccine, and healthier thoughts based on reality.

  1. The Vaccine Will Give Me COVID-19: Cognitive-behavioral therapists consider this to be an “arbitrary inference” error. The idea states a conclusion not based on facts and arbitrarily infers a risk when no risk is present. A realistic idea might be: “The vaccine contains no live virus and cannot cause COVID-19 when I take the shot. Taking the vaccine is much better than being infected with novel coronavirus and developing COVID-19.”
  2. The Vaccine Will Cause Me to Be Quarantined: Most of us have come to fear being placed in quarantine because of the isolation and possible negative consequences (job loss, stigmatization). This thought falls into the catastrophic thinking category; underneath the idea sits the fears of losing everything due to quarantine. The reality is that the vaccine will not lead to a positive test result, and a more reasonable idea would be: “I can be vaccinated and won’t test positive, won’t be isolated, and won’t lose my job. My best bet is to take the vaccine.”
  3. The Vaccine Isn’t Safe: Many people today have become mistrusting of government interventions with COVID-19, somewhat based on frequently changing guidance and health orders. However, citizens can trust the COVID-19 vaccine program, which underwent rigorous testing for safety, seemed quick only because of new technology, not because they rushed the vaccines. Your more realistic idea might be: “The vaccine is as safe or safer than other vaccines, and the quickness of its development resulted from innovative technology, not slip-shod work. I will take the vaccine.”
  4. The Vaccine Will Alter My DNA: The vaccine used dead viruses to produce the immune system’s response. The immune system learns, as it always does when it reacts to a germ. The vaccine cannot enter into your body’s cells to change your DNA. A replacement thought might be: “Reports about the vaccine altering my DNA aren’t true. Being vaccinated is both safe and will keep my (and others around me) healthy.”

Your Values and the Vaccine Against the Corona Virus: Even if you are still worried about being vaccinated, or don’t believe you’ll get sick should you not receive it, give thought to what’s important. If you don’t vaccinate and do become ill, the risk of giving it to others remains high. Worse though, if you become ill or pass away, your loved ones and children will suffer while you’re sick. If you pass away, imagine their grief and pain at the loss of their loved one, you.

Your values about keeping others safe, and protecting your family from sadness and grief, are some of the best reasons to receive the vaccine.

More from Kevin D. Arnold Ph.D., ABPP
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More from Kevin D. Arnold Ph.D., ABPP
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