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Local psychologist offers ways to reduce coronavirus vaccine anxiety

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 7:02 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - As the coronavirus vaccine becomes more widely available, not everyone is certain they want to get the shot. Local Psychologist, Dr. Matthew Boland said new situations can cause people to feel anxious.

He said, “Especially with things that are really new, they can really cause anxiety because they are so uncertain. There’s a lot we don’t know about them, we don’t know how to approach them.” Dr. Boland continued, “This is something that we don’t have a cure for of course, it is a new virus, and a lot of the treatments for it are still being researched, and something like this can bring a lot of uncertainty.”

He said there are few steps people can take if they’re feeling anxious about their decision:

  • Seek social support from people you trust. Dr. Boland said to talk about the feelings you’re experiencing like stress or uncertainty.
  • Identify the thoughts of your anxiety. Are you worried about getting sick from the vaccine? The side effects?
  • Dr. Boland said this could lead to the next step by looking up reputable sources like the CDC or connect with a healthcare professional to learn more about the vaccine.
  • Avoid social media and non-credible sources.
  • Look at the pros and cons of getting yourself vaccinated. Does getting the vaccine help you see your friends and family much sooner? Bring back normalcy?

“This allows you to make a more informed decision and not really basing the decision on the anxiety, but a decision with the information you have at hand, and that can also help people gain a sense of control as well.”

If you’re experiencing a level of high anxiety about the vaccine or other aspects of the pandemic, Dr. Boland suggests connecting with a mental health expert.

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