COVID-19 case surge can lead to anxiety for those fully vaccinated, Springfield psychologists explain

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 9:32 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - As cases of COVID-19 swell in Greene County, vaccine rates remain low within the community. The surge in cases is causing anxiety for some people fully vaccinated.

Kristie Vincent wears a mask in public, despite vaccinated. Since both her and her daughter are immunocompromised, Vincent says she’s more aware of around her. Vincent says she gets anxiety when she goes places with a lot of people not wearing a mask.”

“There’d be no way that I’d even contemplate going to the fair,” Vincent says. “I was glad to see that the Route 66 Festival was cancelled because I think that would’ve been a big spreader.”

Vincent wishes others were more considerate, especially since she’s done everything she can to protect herself.

“That could be affecting someone’s baby, someone’s elderly grandparents or even elderly parents,” Vincent says.

After all the community has gone through during the pandemic, psychologist Dr. Jennifer Baker says seeing the rise in cases can bring a level of PTSD.

“Even if you’re vaccinated, even if you feel reasonably protected, just remembering what was happening last year at this time and how that impacted all of us can make you feel more anxious,” Dr. Baker says.

Burrell’s licensed clinical psychologist Brittany Pratt says people do best when they’re with others.

“Even when we are now able to be with some of our other humans if we are vaccinated and able to safely gather, we don’t know if the person next to me has also taken certain safety precautions,” Pratt says. “If they aren’t wearing a mask are they vaccinated or not? Are they a safe person to be with or not?”

Dr. Baker says some may feel frustrated more people aren’t getting vaccinated.

“Being angry at someone never caused them to give up their fear and that’s the thing,” Dr. Baker says. “People who are not getting vaccinated by and large are fearful of what might happen to them if they do get vaccinated and fears are emotional. They don’t necessarily respond to logic. They don’t necessarily respond to someone else’s anger and distress.”

Vincent says the community needs to come together and be courteous to one another.

“Anxious in a way that I worry about those that aren’t vaccinated and are not wearing their masks,” Vincent says.

Pratt says it’s important to set boundaries if you feel unsafe around other people.

“This is my line and just knowing that you can safely hold the line for you while still loving and caring for our friends and family members,” Pratt says.

Both psychologists say if the anxiety is interfering with your daily life, it’s important to reach out for professional help.

Burrell’s 24/7 crisis help line is: 800-494-7355. Burrell also offers a 24/7 Walk-In Behavioral Crisis Center which is in the Rapid Access Unit at 800 S. Park Ave. in Springfield.

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