JESSICA B. LONDA, PH.D.

LICENSED CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST-DOCTORATE



PO BOX 123

THETFORD, VERMONT 05074

PH. 802-785-2434

VERMONT LIC. #765

NEWHAMPSHIRE LIC. #915

Covid-19 Vaccine Help from the 

N.H. Department of Health and Human Services

https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/covid19/documents/coping-covid-vaccine-stress.pdf

Coping with COVID-19 Vaccine Stress


Since early 2020, we have faced much uncertainty and many challenges, while navigating new frontiers of change during a global pandemic. So many things look different, so many things feel different, and so many things are different. After facing months of things that are different, we now face decisions about COVID-19 vaccinations and that may result in anxiousness, stress, or other reactions.


1    One helpful strategy for managing stress or anxiety about the COVID-19 vaccine is to identify what we know and what we can do. Things you can do may include:


  • Do your research. Fear is often based in the unknown, so learn as much as you can. Consider what is worrying you. Are you concerned about possible side effects, how recommendation decisions are being made, or about how the vaccine works? Once you identify your specific thoughts and concerns, you can search for information that addresses the questions you may have and keep yourself informed. The CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccines page (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines) is a great place to start.
  • Stay up to date. Keep yourself in the loop as progress is made with vaccines and vaccine distribution. Be careful not get sucked into consuming too much news or social media – stick to a vetted vaccine tracker and allow yourself to take a break from news if it becomes overwhelming or intrusive to your daily routines.
  • Look towards officials you trust. The State of New Hampshire’s webpage (www.nh.gov/covid19) is a helpful resource. Other trusted sources regarding vaccine safety may include Dr. Anthony Fauci (Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) are also reputable sources. It may also be helpful to find information from multiple trusted sources.
  • Think about the benefits compared to the risks. We don’t know everything, but so far leading trials have been safe. Under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), known and potential benefits must outweigh the known and potential risks before a vaccine will be approved for use. Health and medical experts believe getting the vaccine will help you develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 and help keep you and your family safe.
  • Make decisions in your best interest. If your anxiety about vaccination is overwhelming, intrusive, or too much to cope with, it may be helpful to communicate with your primary care provider or a mental health professional. Communicating with a physician or a therapist may help you identify your specific concerns and may help you develop strategies for managing what you’re experiencing.


2    Another helpful strategy is to know what to expect, which helps to reduce uncertainty. It may be helpful to remind yourself of possible side effects and how to manage any side effects that may occur.


  • Common side effects may include pain or swelling at the injection site. Other possible side effects you may experience include fever, chills, tiredness, or headache.
  • Helpful tips for managing pain, discomfort, or other side effects include putting a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the injection site; using or exercising your arm; drinking plenty of fluids; and dressing lightly in comfortable clothing.
  • Remind yourself that side effects may feel like flu and even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. It may be helpful to contact your physician if redness or tenderness of the injection site increases after 24 hours or if your side effects are worrying and don’t go away within a few days.


Experiencing any prolonged stressor, like everything that comes with COVID-19, results in cumulative stress – stress that collects day after day because information about the pandemic is all around us all the time. While it may be reasonable to presume that everyone understands and can recognize stress, it is also true that we may be unprepared for our own stress responses. We may not even recognize stress reactions or anxiety when we experience them. It may be helpful to remember that stress may impact us in different ways. It may also be helpful to remember that once it is recognized, stress must be triaged and treated if we hope to be resilient and adaptable to what is happening around us.


3    A third strategy for managing stress or anxiety about COVID-19 or the vaccine is to practice recognizing how you experience stress. Stress reactions may include:


  • Changes in your behavior such as an increase or decrease in your energy and activity levels; an increase in irritability, outbursts of anger, or frequent arguing; having trouble relaxing or sleeping; wanting to be alone most of the time; worrying excessively or more often than not; having difficulty communicating or listening; inability to feel pleasure or have fun; or an increase in your use of alcohol, tobacco use, or other substances
  • Physical reactions such as having headaches and other pains, losing your appetite or eating too much, sweating or having chills, being easily startled, having stomachaches or diarrhea, or worsening of previous medical or mental health conditions
  • Emotional reactions such as feeling depressed, being anxious or fearful, feeling angry, feeling overwhelmed, feeling guilty, or having difficulty caring about anything
  • Changes in your thinking such as having trouble remembering things, feeling confused, having trouble thinking clearly and concentrating, or having difficulty making decisions


4  Another strategy for managing cumulative stress or anxiety about COVID-19 or the vaccine is to purposefully practice stress management and self-care. Practicing stress management for your health may include:


  • Knowing your personal signs of stress. Include others in your stress control plan; they can tip you off when they recognize your stress signs and you can help them recognize their stress signs as well
  • Identifying major stressors and developing a plan for how you will address your stress when it happens
  • Create a community culture or buddy system for exercising, relaxing, or talking together
  • Take time for yourself. Mentally disconnect from distressing information as completely as possible – limit exposure to media or conversations related to COVID-19 when possible or as needed
  • Choose constructive ways to release stress such as walking, stretching, deep breathing, reading, listening to music, etc.
  • Practice healthy sleep behaviors. Train your body to downshift by getting into a routine sleep pattern
  • Try to avoid foods that are high in sugar, carbohydrates, caffeine, and alcohol, which can all trap stress chemicals in muscle tissues and leave you with flu-like symptoms (achy, fatigued, nauseous, dehydrated, etc.)
  • Communicate with others about your reactions, emotions, and stress. Keeping things in or stuffing down what you’re experiencing might feel helpful in the short term, yet it’s likely to result in more intense stress reactions. Acknowledging your stress by communicating with others or with professionals (like a counselor) creates opportunities for managing stress more effectively


Based on information from: NH Department of Health & Human Services, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Mental Health America, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Coping with Stress during Infectious Disease Outbreaks. DHHS Pub. No. SMA14-4885. Rockville, MD: Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, 2014 www.samhsa.gov

 

 January 12, 2021


© 2021 Jessica B. Londa, Ph.D.

www.UpperValleyPsychotherapy.com

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam tincidunt lorem enim, eget fringilla turpis congue vitae. Phasellus aliquam nisi ut lorem vestibulum eleifend. Nulla ut arcu non nisi congue venenatis vitae ut ante. Nam iaculis sem nec ultrices dapibus. Phasellus eu ultrices turpis. Vivamus non mollis lacus, non ullamcorper nisl. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Phasellus sit amet scelerisque ipsum. Morbi nulla dolor, adipiscing non convallis rhoncus, ornare sed risus.
Sed adipiscing eget nibh at convallis. Curabitur eu gravida mauris, sit amet dictum metus. Sed a elementum arcu. Proin consectetur eros vitae odio sagittis, vitae dignissim justo sollicitudin. Phasellus non varius lacus, aliquet feugiat mauris. Phasellus fringilla commodo sem vel pellentesque. Ut porttitor tincidunt risus a pharetra. Cras nec vestibulum massa. Mauris sagittis leo a libero convallis accumsan. Aenean ut mollis ipsum. Donec aliquam egestas convallis. Fusce dapibus, neque sed mattis consectetur, erat nibh vulputate sapien, ac accumsan arcu sem quis nibh. Etiam et mi sed mauris commodo tristique. Proin mollis elementum purus, a porta quam vehicula et.
Quisque ullamcorper, sapien ut egestas faucibus, tortor mauris tempor odio, sed pretium risus dui sit amet lectus. Sed ligula mi, tincidunt nec porttitor vel, aliquet sit amet libero. Nulla sagittis ultricies sem, non pretium augue bibendum vitae. Nunc luctus tristique urna eu tincidunt. Etiam ultricies neque ante, ut placerat dolor iaculis dapibus. Curabitur luctus orci et gravida laoreet. Sed ultrices id nulla id mollis. Donec tempor dapibus sem, a convallis felis elementum sed. Aenean nisi tortor, dictum ac massa non, rhoncus sagittis leo. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Proin id justo sit amet mi euismod lobortis. Morbi at mauris condimentum, vestibulum risus eu, laoreet elit. Aenean posuere risus vel hendrerit dignissim. In leo tellus, feugiat sit amet purus laoreet, consequat tincidunt orci. Integer sit amet justo in mi rhoncus commodo. Duis sagittis augue nisi, in fringilla tortor iaculis id.
Aenean luctus sodales tempus. Sed tincidunt nisl in nisl congue, at facilisis lorem posuere. Donec id erat vel lectus volutpat pellentesque a quis magna. Praesent bibendum orci in lobortis porta. Suspendisse eget odio a ligula ornare mollis. Maecenas eleifend urna ac feugiat posuere. Donec turpis ipsum, rhoncus eu laoreet eu, viverra tristique urna. Aliquam euismod velit mi, et pharetra libero gravida vitae. Praesent ligula lorem, hendrerit ut laoreet a, porta ut diam. Cras tellus lacus, mattis quis rhoncus id, interdum eget mi. Sed ac aliquet ligula, suscipit malesuada dui. Fusce eu nibh eget diam aliquet feugiat. Nam orci neque, volutpat ac metus id, fermentum tristique sapien. Phasellus ac ultricies risus.
Aenean vitae blandit nibh. Vestibulum a justo non lorem malesuada commodo. Suspendisse ac mi sit amet neque molestie interdum in at eros. Proin ac suscipit arcu, non suscipit felis. Donec accumsan, quam non pulvinar venenatis, sapien nulla venenatis neque, sit amet pulvinar turpis ipsum id elit. Donec interdum tellus ut dolor placerat, faucibus accumsan enim consectetur. Aenean dolor magna, condimentum eget interdum eget, dictum id tortor. Proin commodo risus vitae purus laoreet, sed malesuada massa congue.
Ut imperdiet sit amet turpis in elementum. Fusce at bibendum sapien, et convallis justo. Aenean lacinia ligula quis fringilla rutrum. Aenean eu ultricies nibh. Quisque ultrices suscipit dui ut mattis. Morbi pretium mattis tortor non tempor. Donec mattis pharetra justo, nec commodo velit placerat ut. Fusce vitae porta magna, in tristique nulla. Fusce accumsan erat quis tellus pellentesque, ut facilisis velit vulputate. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Suspendisse potenti.
Praesent rutrum neque neque, et sodales est blandit ac. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Aliquam viverra, augue non sollicitudin porttitor, mi lectus malesuada augue, id fringilla sapien lectus at ipsum. Quisque vel lacus luctus, suscipit eros a, iaculis ipsum. Maecenas viverra accumsan felis, sit amet consequat quam viverra aliquam. Sed sodales sem nec lectus molestie, eu commodo est fermentum. Donec accumsan tempor viverra. Cras non nibh porttitor, pharetra nibh a, aliquet velit. Fusce vel fringilla mauris. Nulla facilisi.
Vestibulum libero arcu, aliquet in sapien posuere, vestibulum lobortis mauris. Quisque congue cursus commodo. Nulla et dolor ultrices, gravida tortor vitae, adipiscing nibh. In in lorem ut diam ultrices faucibus. Ut nec nulla a dui molestie luctus. Nulla et risus pharetra, fringilla risus faucibus, fermentum mauris. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nunc luctus, risus non pretium elementum, ante leo imperdiet neque, a elementum ante magna in