What is it about?

Vaccination stimulates the ability of the highly evolved human immune system to recognize pathogenic motifs of infectious agents (like viruses), and effectively eliminate these agents. It develops our immunity, protect-ing the body against “real-life” exposure to the virus, but the effectiveness of vaccine-induced immunity varies among individuals. The authors of this paper reviewed relevant literature from the past 30 years to explore the association between the psychological characteristics of the vaccinated people and the vaccine’s efficacy. They examined reports of various vaccines and opined that stress, depression, loneliness, and poor health behaviors possibly affected the immune system’s response to vaccines–especially in medically vulnerable groups, such as the elderly. They also assessed the relevance of their findings in the context of the vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

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Why is it important?

The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant strict lockdowns have taken a serious toll on public mental health, as marked by increased loneliness, stress, alcohol consumption, smoking, reduced physical activity, and altered sleep patterns. As vaccines roll out, their effectiveness in reducing disease severity and their side effects have entered the arena of public debate. In this backdrop, it is important to highlight the effect of mental health on vaccine efficacy. The results of this study could also promote psychological and behavioral interventions to improve the vaccine responsiveness of the community. KEY TAKEAWAY Vaccination drives and public health policy should consider the psycho-logical risk factors affecting the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines and adopt interventions to control these risk factors as possible vaccine adjuvants.

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This page is a summary of: Psychological and Behavioral Predictors of Vaccine Efficacy: Considerations for COVID-19, Perspectives on Psychological Science, January 2021, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/1745691621989243.
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