I had my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccination yesterday.
I understand why some people will not be vaccinated and for others why it’s such a difficult decision to make.
Reading social media, or even print media, you could be excused that it’s as simple as taking sides. Vaccinations are good, vaccinations are bad.
But life is never really as simple as we would like it to be.
When my first child was due to have their vaccinations as a baby I seriously did not know what to do. Although the vaccinations they were having were well established, there was a small risk associated with them. There were also very loud voices of anti-vaxxers, particularly with regard to the believe that Autism was related to having vaccines.
Your brain is designed to keep you alive, to protect you from danger. When there is a threat, or a perceived threat, your mind evaluates the threat and if deemed necessary it switches to a stress response – usually described as fight, flight or freeze.
Being an anxious first time mum, my brain went into evaluation stage. I read everything I could, spoke to all the experts I knew and made a decision. I went ahead with the vaccinations, but spaced the viral load out. I split the vaccines instead of having my children receive them all at once.
Currently, most of us can recite what threats having a COVID-19 vaccination poses. For me with the AstraZeneca it is dying from a clot. And even though the scientific evidence states that the risk is something like 1 in 800,000 (less than the contraceptive pill, and I survived being on that) the side of my brain that wants to keep me safe says”
Because you cannot deny that this vaccination is something new. It feels rushed. Because no other vaccine has undergone so much public scrutiny you read about all the problems that have occurred in clinical trials.
All of these factors combine to create fear and doubt.
Governments and science get it wrong, frequently.
For me, the decision to have a vaccination is based on protecting others around me the best I can.
Being over 50 the AstraZeneca was the vaccination that I was booked in for.
Having had it, I still would have preferred to have the Pfizer vaccination which has less known side effects. Side effects can appear between day 4-20, so my kind, anxious brain will be watching me like a hawk for the next three weeks.
In America one in 600 people have died from COVID-19.
We have been relative fortunate in Australia, but we don’t know what the next variation will bring. And if possible I do not want to contribute to passing this disease to my children, my family and friends or my clients.
So, I rolled the dice and rolled up my sleeve.
Let’s see what happens next.
* My aim is for these posts is meant to useful, interesting and/or inspiring. They are not designed to be used for therapy.. If you are experiencing stress please contact your GP or mental health professional.
Kim Ross is a Psychologist and Founder of Positive Young Minds and Essential Self-Care for Psychologists.