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Thread: Health Anxiety preventing me from getting Covid-19 Vaccination

  1. #1
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    Mar 2020
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    Health Anxiety preventing me from getting Covid-19 Vaccination

    Note: This post is an honest writing of my anxious thoughts regarding covid-19 vaccines. if you find this triggering to your anxiety, PLEASE do not read! This is NOT an 'anti-vax' post, just a post about how my anxiety is getting in the way of me booking my c19 vaccine. Apologies if this topic has been covered a lot elsewhere, I struggle to keep up with all the different threads.

    ===========================

    Hi everyone,

    Like many, my mental health has hit an all time low over the past year. I am at a stage where even the slightest symptom (such as feeling a bit hot or short of breath) sometimes causes panic attacks as I worry I'm coming down with covid. This depression & anxiety has sometimes been so debilitating that I can barely function some days.

    I have now been invted by the NHS to have my covid vaccine. I'd like to get it, but my anxiety is so intense that I just can't bring myself to book the appointment.

    I realise some of the fears I share will sound either silly or alarmist, but I am hoping any replies will show compassion -I need to talk to someone about these fears otherwise it may stop me getting the vaccine altogether.

    Some of my fears include:

    1. Side effects -I read the vaccines can make people feel a bit unwell (feverish ect), and as noted above- I worry what this will do to my anxiety levels as I'm already barely coping. My fear is i will be really unwell and bed-ridden after getting the vaccine.

    2. Blood clots - I know they're rare, but I worry i'll end up with a headache or leg pains 1-4 weeks after injection and will potentially spiral into a severe health anxiety episode where nothing short of a brain scan would convince me

    3. I have some bizzare, unexplainable fears such as - "Does the vaccine stay in my body forever?" , "Haven't they rushed this vaccine?", "What if there are long term effects of the vaccine they don't know about yet?"

    Bottom line: I'm physically healthy right now but my mental health is at rock bottom.

    I am worried that the moment that needle enters my muscle and injects me that I'll be setting myself up for months of excruciating health anxiety and worrying that every symptom I get is a sign the vaccine is going to give me an extremely bad reaction and that i'll end up being rushed to hospital.

    The blood clot issue is probably my biggest fear - since I already get headaches anyway so I've already been worrying what I'll do if i get a really bad headache after getting the jab.

    Specifically with regard to the Oxford AZ jab , my understanding is that it has been either banned or restricted in most major European Countries so that in itself causes me further anxiety and doubt.

    It would simply be too tempting not to get it (or keep putting it off) and avoid several weeks of severe health anxiety, but I know that is not the answer. I am really hoping that anyone who has had the vaccine could provide me with a bit of re-assurance if possible.
    Last edited by anxious_dan; 20-04-21 at 12:59.

  2. #2
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    22,797

    Re: Health Anxiety preventing me from getting Covid-19 Vaccination

    Check out the COVID sub forum (which I'm sure this will be moved to). You're definitely not alone in your fear. Many here have gotten the vaccine. The wife and I are going Thursday for the 2nd Pfizer jab. Minor side effects but no biggie. The peace of mind knowing you're protected far outweighs the possibility of some vaccine side effects.

    Positive thoughts
    __________________
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  3. #3
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    Re: Health Anxiety preventing me from getting Covid-19 Vaccination

    Thanks Fishmanpa, in hindsight that's exactly the sub forum I probably should have posted in! Pleased to hear you had minimal side effects and I wish you all the best for your 2nd jab.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2009
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    6,702

    Re: Health Anxiety preventing me from getting Covid-19 Vaccination

    HI Anxious Dan, I was literally TERRIFIED of the vaccine (had the AZ 4 weeks ago), I have a medication phobia about side effects and anaphylaxis, I went there sweating and shaking and had felt ill from anxiety in the weeks leading up to it. I've written about it on this forum before, and specifically on the COVID subsection. I had many, if not all of the question you asked in my head in the months leading up to the vaccine. You've asked many questions there, let me answer a few of them -

    Was it rushed ? Yes, it was done quickly - however, the reason for that was that a pile of vaccine companies, researchers, medics, huge amounts of funding and every piece of assistance possible was given to the make sure it was possible. Mostly, it was about money thrown at it ! Any vaccine or medication could be done almost as quickly, with the same resources as this one had thrown at it. (I've spoken to biologists about this) The same safety protocols, checks, tests, blah blah were done as are required for any vaccine.

    How ill would you be ? Well, first thing is, you aren't actually 'ill' as such. I know it sounds like I am splitting hairs , but it is important to remember that it is a benign injection and you can't get covid, obviously. So, what you experience is an immune response, which would be similar to if you started getting any virus. It can go no further than a certain point, and for most people that is minimal 'fluey' symptoms for 24 - 48 hours. Some people have it longer and slightly worse, some people have it shorter and many have no side effects at all (like 3 people in my family). There is a thread currently on the covid forum, where people are giving their thoughts to another anxious person, so might be worth looking that one up. I had a bit of a headache (not enough for painkillers) and felt tired for 12 -24 hours, then it went as quickly as it came, just ended so suddenly. If you had a worse response then I'm sure knowing that its going to end very soon (unlike COVID) and a bit of rest and paracetamol would deal with it.

    HOw long does the vaccine stay in the body ? SOmebody told me it is metabolised entirely after 4 weeks and has left the system, if somebody knows differently and has clearer info then feel free to add it. It is known processes used in this vaccine (AZ),a very well researched process, with a huge amount of evidence and understanding by some very highly educated virologists and immunologists behind it. The method of producing immunity in humans is known, its not just been thought up for COVID. I was told there can be no 'long term' effects, as its gone - disappeared - vanished, it simply acts on the part of the human its meant to and nothing else and nothing more.

    Blood clots ? Extraordinarily rare, and now medics are on high alert monitoring for it. Much has been made of this in the media, yet people thrown other medications down their throat without thinking about the many side effects which can be far less rare. COVID has a hugely higher incidence of blood clots, I can't recall the figures now, but a large percentage of those hospitalised from it develop blood clots.

    What I'll do if i get a really bad headache after getting the jab ? Well, I've heard that A and Es are full of people right now who are scared of their perfectly standard headaches due to the blood clot media attention . However, if you do get a really bad headache then you ring your GP, or 111 and they will talk you through your symptom and if they think its concerning.


    I looked up and read lots of information leading up to the vaccine and asked questions, like you. I don't mean horror stories about it, but good credible explanations about how it worked, what it contained and how it affected the human body. Understanding everything really helped me to close many of those questions. (The Beeb has lots of good articles)

    Perhaps others could help by answering other questions that I've not got time for now........ hope it helps a bit, just my thoughts and ultimately its your choice.
    Last edited by Carys; 20-04-21 at 21:14.

  5. #5
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    Re: Health Anxiety preventing me from getting Covid-19 Vaccination

    I'm not going to tell you to what to do but here are my thoughts..

    1) you may or may not feel bad. I was ok,my wife was bad with it. She got better.

    2) I think covid can cause blood clots. Stands to reason the vaccine may also cause them. I may be mistaken but I think its 1 in a million. I think the contraceptive pill is 1 in so many thousand (may be wrong). Long haul flights also.

    3) unfortunately I have no answer.

  6. #6
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    Re: Health Anxiety preventing me from getting Covid-19 Vaccination

    Hi

    This is just a courtesy reply to let you know that your post was moved from its original place to a sub-forum that is more relevant to your issue.

    This is nothing personal - it just enables us to keep posts about the same problems in the relevant forums so other members with any experience with the issues can find them more easily.

    Please also read this post:

    http://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=213239
    __________________
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    “Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live.” - Natalie Babbitt

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  7. #7
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    Re: Health Anxiety preventing me from getting Covid-19 Vaccination

    Dan,

    It seems you are in a place mentally at the moment where you're going to struggle whether you get the vaccine or not. I don't recommend to anyone that they get it or not get it. That's a personal choice. But what are you doing right now to address your HA? To me that's your real issue. Do you think getting the vaccine will help relieve some of your HA symptoms? No one I know personally has died from the vaccine. Some have not felt well after though, as others have stated.

  8. #8
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    146

    Re: Health Anxiety preventing me from getting Covid-19 Vaccination

    Quote Originally Posted by Carys View Post
    HI Anxious Dan, I was literally TERRIFIED of the vaccine (had the AZ 4 weeks ago), I have a medication phobia about side effects and anaphylaxis, I went there sweating and shaking and had felt ill from anxiety in the weeks leading up to it. I've written about it on this forum before, and specifically on the COVID subsection. I had many, if not all of the question you asked in my head in the months leading up to the vaccine. You've asked many questions there, let me answer a few of them -

    Was it rushed ? Yes, it was done quickly - however, the reason for that was that a pile of vaccine companies, researchers, medics, huge amounts of funding and every piece of assistance possible was given to the make sure it was possible. Mostly, it was about money thrown at it ! Any vaccine or medication could be done almost as quickly, with the same resources as this one had thrown at it. (I've spoken to biologists about this) The same safety protocols, checks, tests, blah blah were done as are required for any vaccine.

    How ill would you be ? Well, first thing is, you aren't actually 'ill' as such. I know it sounds like I am splitting hairs , but it is important to remember that it is a benign injection and you can't get covid, obviously. So, what you experience is an immune response, which would be similar to if you started getting any virus. It can go no further than a certain point, and for most people that is minimal 'fluey' symptoms for 24 - 48 hours. Some people have it longer and slightly worse, some people have it shorter and many have no side effects at all (like 3 people in my family). There is a thread currently on the covid forum, where people are giving their thoughts to another anxious person, so might be worth looking that one up. I had a bit of a headache (not enough for painkillers) and felt tired for 12 -24 hours, then it went as quickly as it came, just ended so suddenly. If you had a worse response then I'm sure knowing that its going to end very soon (unlike COVID) and a bit of rest and paracetamol would deal with it.

    HOw long does the vaccine stay in the body ? SOmebody told me it is metabolised entirely after 4 weeks and has left the system, if somebody knows differently and has clearer info then feel free to add it. It is known processes used in this vaccine (AZ),a very well researched process, with a huge amount of evidence and understanding by some very highly educated virologists and immunologists behind it. The method of producing immunity in humans is known, its not just been thought up for COVID. I was told there can be no 'long term' effects, as its gone - disappeared - vanished, it simply acts on the part of the human its meant to and nothing else and nothing more.

    Blood clots ? Extraordinarily rare, and now medics are on high alert monitoring for it. Much has been made of this in the media, yet people thrown other medications down their throat without thinking about the many side effects which can be far less rare. COVID has a hugely higher incidence of blood clots, I can't recall the figures now, but a large percentage of those hospitalised from it develop blood clots.

    What I'll do if i get a really bad headache after getting the jab ? Well, I've heard that A and Es are full of people right now who are scared of their perfectly standard headaches due to the blood clot media attention . However, if you do get a really bad headache then you ring your GP, or 111 and they will talk you through your symptom and if they think its concerning.


    I looked up and read lots of information leading up to the vaccine and asked questions, like you. I don't mean horror stories about it, but good credible explanations about how it worked, what it contained and how it affected the human body. Understanding everything really helped me to close many of those questions. (The Beeb has lots of good articles)

    Perhaps others could help by answering other questions that I've not got time for now........ hope it helps a bit, just my thoughts and ultimately its your choice.
    Hi Carys,

    That was an incredible response! I want to thank you for taking the time to write this and talk through each of the points raised. It's re-assuring to know there are others who have had all the same concerns but still managed to get vaccinated.

    Under normal circumstances, I might be able to pull myself together more easily but for me personally there has been a "perfect storm" of events over the past year that have created crippling levels of anxiety.

    Right before the pandemic hit, I moved to a new area to be closer to work. This would be the first experience of having my own apartment, which initially I looked forward to having usually lived in quite noisy households - but it soon turned ito a curse being cooped up in an apartment by myself in an area where I knew no one.

    For over a year now I've been paranoid after every supermarket visit, monitoring my temperature, checking if I have any shortness of breath using meters ect. The most recent lockdown was extremely hard, over winter. I became far too hooked on all the sensationalist news and my anxiety levels have remained very high for over a year.

    I'm not even sure at this point whether it's the vaccine itself that I'm scared of or if I'm just terrified of the mind games my crippling health anxiety will potentially play on me after getting it.

    You mention the media attention on blood clots - and this gave me an idea that if I can bring myself to get the vaccine, it might be worth banning myself from news for a few weeks, or at the very least being very careful about where I get my news sources from (perhaps just getting a brief, factual summary).

    Thanks again for writing - I'll probably refer back to some of the things you wrote in the coming days as I consider my decision.

  9. #9
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    Re: Health Anxiety preventing me from getting Covid-19 Vaccination

    Quote Originally Posted by pav1984 View Post
    I'm not going to tell you to what to do but here are my thoughts..

    1) you may or may not feel bad. I was ok,my wife was bad with it. She got better.

    2) I think covid can cause blood clots. Stands to reason the vaccine may also cause them. I may be mistaken but I think its 1 in a million. I think the contraceptive pill is 1 in so many thousand (may be wrong). Long haul flights also.

    3) unfortunately I have no answer.
    Hi Pav1984, Thanks for writing! When you say your wife was "bad with it" - how bad are we talking here?

    You're absolutely right that there have been reports of covid itself causing blood clots and I think I read that the risk of clots from covid is around 10 times higher than that of the vaccine.

    Actually I looked online earlier at the odds of dying from a range of things - such as car accidents, and was quite surprised at how high some of those odds seemed. I am trying to get a sense of perspective on this clot issue , because I think it's reading all the media stories that's made me feel like me going to get the vaccine is essentially putting myself at risk of getting a blood clot.

  10. #10
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    6,702

    Re: Health Anxiety preventing me from getting Covid-19 Vaccination

    It's re-assuring to know there are others who have had all the same concerns but still managed to get vaccinated.
    Oh, I think there are plenty of people who are terrifically concerned about having the vaccine, many more than tell you or show their faces. Its certainly also been a strong theme on this forum recently and will be why a proportion of people aren't having the vaccine. I understand that you have had a shi*ey year in general -

    it soon turned into a curse being cooped up in an apartment by myself in an area where I knew no one.
    - this is tough, really isolating and it gives you far too much introspection time and for things to grow out of proportion based on social media and the 'news' in general. So, heres the thing, it sounds to me from reading between the lines that you actually want to have the vaccine. The issues of being isolated, checking yourself and fearing COVID everytime you step outside the door could be vastly helped by knowing you have some immunity. AZ vaccine (sorry I don't know figures for all the others) doesn't stop all people getting COVID, BUT, the US found in their large scale tests that in 100 percent of cases it stops it being a severe illness and needing hospitalistion. That would be something of a weight off your shoulders, if you could jump this final vaccination hurdle ?

    Regarding immune responses - one person in my family had a strong response, it was a headache, burning eyes, tiredness, chills and some dizziness. She described it as 'just like I felt at the start of the flu a few years ago'. 24 hours later, resting and paracetamol, she woke up back to normal. Thats the thing, the ' side effects' are just your body as it would respond to a flu virus, but it can't become flu - but yes, some people feel rubbishy for a day or so. If you just accept it for what it is, insurance for the future, and a very short-term inconvenience, then it can be dealt with and got through even if you have a few symptoms. I heard of one person, annecdotally, who had 5 days of feeling off colour.......but yet again, it ended and they went straight back to normal.

    There are people on here really good with stats, and on other threads have commented on the likelihood of having an accident getting to the vaccination as opposed to a blood clot from a virus. Which do you think is far more likely ? - but we don't worry about that do we, because that isn't constantly drawn to our attention. You could start each day with a list of all the risks that living brings with it, and write down the probabilities of those happening : eating, drinking, going to the toilet, going upstairs, driving the car, taking some ibruprofen, crossing the road, using the lawnmower.....etc etc etc. You'd sit there and not move all day, except that would be risky for other reasons wouldn't it Every single thing you touch or do, every experience you have has risks and possible rare outcomes, but we don't focus on it or even think about it for most of the time. Living is risky. Having a rare risk, like blood clots, splattered over the news increases the fear of it out of proportion to the likelihood and out of proportion to all the other 'risky' things that happen in the day.

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