Covid vaccine potentially benefits mental health, a study finds

The Covid-19 pandemic has hugely affected people’s mental health, leading to an increase in stress. A recent US study, however, found that Covid vaccines can potentially benefit one’s mental health.

Conducted by researchers from the University of Southern California, the study published in the PLOS journal examined changes in mental distress following the first vaccine dose.

Researchers analysed results from 8,003 adults, who were surveyed at regular intervals between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021.

The study found that people, who were vaccinated between December 2020 and March 2021 reported “decreased mental levels in the surveys conducted after receiving the first dose”.

“The results here should be interpreted as the short-term direct effects of getting a first vaccine dose. The overall contribution of vaccine uptake on improving mental health outcomes is potentially much larger, as it affects not only those vaccinated but also the unvaccinated,” the study reads.

It added, “The effects we identify could arise from one of or a combination of mechanisms. Those recently vaccinated may become less worried about getting infected, they may become more active socially, or they may venture into different work opportunities. Future research should investigate the mechanisms through which the vaccine shot achieved such effects.”

Dr HK Mahajan, anaesthesiologist, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Vasant Kunj, tells indianexpress.com, “The Covid-19 pandemic has affected several aspects of people’s lives, including their employment, finances, health and social well being. All these factors have contributed towards mental health issues not only in patients who suffered from COVID-19, but also in their nears and dears, and the society at large. The mental aspect of this viral disease include, but are not limited to psychological distress, anxiety, depression, social alienation and suicidal thoughts.”

“Mass vaccination rollout has contributed in a big way by increasing the herd immunity, improving awareness, and reducing anxiety amongst masses. It has also increased the prospects of re-employment of the people who lost their livelihood secondary to this grave devastating disease. With increasing awareness that the vaccinated population is immune from severe Covid infection, people are gradually returning to their pre-Covid lifestyle. This is helping in allaying the mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and social aloofness,” the doctor adds.

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