Does COVID Vaccine Improve Mental Health? Study Finds Out

Researchers in the US have studied the impact on mental health after getting the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Shubhangi Shah
Written by: Shubhangi ShahUpdated at: Dec 08, 2021 14:42 IST
Does COVID Vaccine Improve Mental Health? Study Finds Out

It is extremely important to get the vaccine for COVID-19. It prevents serious infections, hospitalisation with the disease, and even death. But, do you know COVID vaccines have another benefit? As per a new study conducted in the US, it helps improve mental health. The study was published Wednesday in the journal PLoS, in which the scientists of the University of South California concluded that the mental health of those suffering from mild to severe depression improved slightly after getting the first dose of the vaccine.

Mental health in the US, like in the rest of the world, had worsened considerably due to the pandemic. As per the data, in the summer of 2020, 4 in 10 in America reported dealing with mental health issues or substance abuse. Before the pandemic, this number was 1 in 10. The team of researchers at the University of South California studies the effect on mental health after the first dose of the COVID vaccine. They studied 8,003 individuals, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, from December 2020, when the US rolled out the vaccine, till March this year.

About The Study

Mental distress increased during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Here are the various aspects of the study:

  • Those who got the first dose between the study period reported improvement in their mental health.
  • The researchers have said that the result should be taken as “short-term direct effects” of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The mental health benefits of getting the vaccine “are potentially much larger,” the researchers wrote in the paper. This is because it affects not just the vaccinated but the unvaccinated too.

Why Does Mental Health Improve After Getting The First Dose?

The US has vaccinated over half of its population

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The scientists haven’t pointed to one single reason but said that a combination of reasons seems to work here. 

  • As people get vaccinated they fear less about getting the infection. They also start socialising, which is crucial in reducing COVID-induced mental distress as isolation improved significantly due to the pandemic. Also, COVID induced a massive blow to economic activities. With vaccination, this gradually came back on track helping people with financial anxieties.
  • Also, the team suggested that the unvaccinated might be also benefitted. This is because with vaccination they also fear less of getting the disease. Also, they also benefit from the increased social and economic activity and they also seek out to search for economic opportunities.
  • The findings of the study boost the confidence even more as to why everyone should get the COVID shot -- not just for their physical health, but mental health too. They, however, noted that “future research should investigate the mechanisms through which the vaccine shot achieved such effects.”

As the novel coronavirus wreaked havoc across the world, the world community worked at a rapid pace to develop the vaccine. As of now, more than a dozen vaccines are being administered across the world. As per the latest count, more than 5.5 billion doses have been administered across the world. However, this is still way far from getting the entire world population vaccinated in order to rein in the pandemic. 

As far as the US is concerned, the country started its mass-vaccination program on December 14, last year. Administering the vaccine doses at a rapid pace, it has fully vaccinated more than 50% of its population. This makes it among the front-runners in the race to get the entire population jabbed. 

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