Mental health conditions could reduce effectiveness of COVID vaccines, study warns
After months of anticipation, the first COVID-19 vaccines have finally started being administered, raising hopes that the end of the pandemic could finally be in sight. But, a new study has warned that certain factors may reduce the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines for some people.
Previous studies have shown that mental health conditions can weaken the body’s immune system and lower the effectiveness of certain vaccines. Now, researchers from the Ohio State University have revealed that the same appears to be true for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Annelise Madison, a Doctoral student in Clinical Psychology and lead author of the study, said: “In addition to the physical toll of COVID-19, the pandemic has an equally troubling mental health component, causing anxiety and depression, among many other related problems. Emotional stressors like these can affect a person’s immune system, impairing their ability to ward off infections.”
Vaccines work by triggering the immune system, resulting in the production of antibodies that target specific pathogens. The continued production of antibodies helps to determine how effective a vaccine is at offering long-term protection.
Worryingly, the researchers warn that depression, stress, and loneliness can weaken the body’s ability to develop an immune response to vaccines. Thankfully, the team believes that it may be possible to reduce these negative effects with simple measures such as exercise and sleep.