According to decades of research, depression, stress, loneliness, and poor health can weaken the body’s immune system and reduce the effectiveness of certain vaccines.New report approved for publication in Psychological Perspective It suggests that the same may apply to the new COVID-19 vaccine under development and the early stages of global distribution. Fortunately, simple steps such as exercising and sleeping may reduce these adverse effects.
Vaccines are one of the safest and most effective advances in medical history, protecting society from a variety of catastrophic diseases such as smallpox and polio. But the key to their success is to ensure that a significant proportion of the population is effectively vaccinated to achieve so-called herd immunity.
Although rigorous testing has shown that the COVID-19 vaccine, approved for distribution in the United States, is very effective in producing robust vaccines. Immune response, Not everyone will get the full benefit right away.Environmental factors, as well as individual genetics and physical and mental health, can undermine physical health Immune system, Slows the response to the vaccine.
This is especially troublesome as the new coronavirus continues to rampage around the world, causing people to deal with isolation, financial stressors, and uncertainty about the future while at the same time creating a mental health crisis. .. These challenges are the same factors that have previously been shown to reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, especially among the elderly.
“In addition to the physical sacrifice of COVID-19, pandemics are just as annoying. mental health Among many other related problems, the ingredients that cause anxiety and depression. Annelise Madison, a researcher at Ohio State University and the lead author of the treatise, said: “Such emotional stressors can affect a person’s immune system and impair their ability to prevent infection. Behavioral and emotional stressors can alter the body’s ability to develop an immune response. The problem is that the pandemic itself may be amplifying these riskors. “
Vaccines work by challenging the immune system. Within hours of vaccination, when the body begins to recognize potential biological threats, a general innate immune response occurs at the cellular level. This front-line response by the immune system is ultimately aided by the production of antibodies that target specific pathogens. It is the continuous production of antibodies that helps determine how effective the vaccine is in providing long-term protection.
Janice Keelt Grasuer, director and senior author of The Ohio State University Institute of Behavioral Medicine, said: “In our research, it’s just one aspect of the adaptive immune system response, but it puts the most emphasis on antibody response. On paper.
The good news, according to researchers, is that the COVID-19 vaccine already on the market is about 95% effective. Nevertheless, these psychological and behavioral factors can increase the time it takes to develop immunity and shorten the duration of immunity.
“What’s exciting to me is that some of these factors are mutable,” said Keycoltgrass. “It is possible to do some simple things to maximize the initial effect of the vaccine.”
Based on previous studies, one of the strategies researchers suggest is to exercise hard and get a good night’s sleep 24 hours before vaccination so that the immune system works at its best. This may help ensure that the best and strongest immune response occurs as quickly as possible.
“Previous studies suggest that psychological and behavioral interventions can be improved. vaccine Responsiveness. “Short-term interventions can also be effective,” Madison said. “Therefore, it’s time to identify and intervene in people at risk of a weakened immune response. Risk factor.. ”
Madison, AA, Schlaut, MR, Lena, ME, Keycoltgrass, JK (2021) Psychological and behavioral predictors of vaccine efficacy: COVID-19 considerations. Progress: Social Sciences and Humanities.
Association for Psychological Sciences
Quote: Depression and stress, COVID-19 vaccine (2021) obtained on January 14, 2021 from https: //medicalxpress.com/news/2021-01-depression-stress-dampen-efficacy-covid-.html May 14th, 2014) may weaken the effectiveness
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