Israeli study links vaccine hesitancy with side effects

As misinformation causes the elderly to develop a sense of apprehension about taking COVID vaccine, they begin developing symptoms to complement their pre-existing fears about possible side effects

i24NEWS|
Israeli researchers linked vaccine hesitancy with reported COVID-19 vaccine side effects, according to a new study published Monday.
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  • Professors at Bar Ilan University and Ariel University hypothesized a nocebo effect linking negative perceptions of receiving a COVID booster shot with subsequent side effects.
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    Heart transplant patients receive a 4th dose of the Covid vaccine, at Israel's Sheba Medical Center
    Heart transplant patients receive a 4th dose of the Covid vaccine, at Israel's Sheba Medical Center
    Heart transplant patients receive a 4th dose of the Covid vaccine, at Israel's Sheba Medical Center
    (Photo: Tomer Neuberg)
    A nocebo effect describes a psychosomatic response in which expectations of negative outcomes influence the perceived outcome of the treatment - as opposed to a placebo effect that describes perceived positive outcomes.
    A “quantifiable and meaningful portion of COVID vaccine side-effects is predicted by vaccine hesitancy,” the researchers said, blaming "(mis)information."
    Using a representative sample of 756 older Israelis, who were questioned after the second vaccine dose and six months later when they received their booster, researchers found that vaccine hesitancy caused nocebo side effects in 16 percent.
    The median age of the sample was 69, and looked at both men and women.
    The reported side effects exceeded those reported by Pfizer, whose vaccine has been by far administered to Israelis most.
    The litany of side effects included a swollen arm or pain at the injection site, fever, chills, headaches, nausea, fatigue, facial paralysis, vomiting, allergic reactions, swollen lymph nodes, rashes, coughing, stomach pain, dizziness, sleep problems, weakness, muscular pain and more.
    The study was conducted by Yaakov S. G. Hoffman, Yafit Levin, Yuval Palgi, Robin Goodwin, Menachem Ben-Ezra and Lee Greenblatt-Kimron.

    Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS
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