By Raj Kumar
Fear is known to be a natural, powerful and primitive human emotion involving a universal biochemical and individual emotional response. It alerts on the presence of danger and the threats that is assumed to be fatal or assume to cause any type of severe consequences weather that may be physical or may be psychological. In some cases fear comes from threats which are real whereas in some cases it originate from imagined dangers, it also act as of symptom of some of the mental health conditions like as, social phobias, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Based on type of perceived threat fear is considered to be composed of two primary reactions emotional and biochemical.
Emotional is considered to be personalized as it involves some of the chemical reactions that happens in our brain as that of the positive emotions like when we are happy or in the excited state and feeling fear under certain circumstances that can be seen as fun. Taking example of sportsperson or other adventure seekers where fear is associated with fun, on the other hand there is negative reaction to fear which include avoiding all fear inducing situations. Biochemical is considered to be a natural mechanism. It is a type of survival mechanism. It is a type of fight or flight response in body either prepares itself to combat the fear or run away. This reaction is likely an evolutionary and automatic response crucial to our survival. physical reactions to this type include increased heart rate, sweating with high rate of adrenaline that makes alert.
Fear associated with covid 19
Fear, an adaptive emotion which deal in mobilizing energy in order to tackle with the assumed or the real threat, whereas it can be maladaptive if not well calibrated to the actual threat. taking the example as, there may have detrimental effects on both the individual and the societal level if the intensity of the fear is at the extreme as, it causes mental problems like phobia and anxiety at the individual and xenophobia at the societal level. On the other hand on the presence of insufficient or the low intensity fear, it causes or it may result in harm to the individual or to the society as in such a situation people may likely to ignore the precautions or the measures that govt. Imposes in order to tackle the threat and also partly due to the reckless policies.
Fear also contributed in the positive aspects of the human behaviour as it triggers safety behaviour e.g., hand washing, that can mitigate certain threats e.g., contamination as in the case of covid 19, but it also leads in enhancing fear. Societal safety measures which are used must be observed strictly in order to prevent the overspreading of infections such as lock downs in corona virus infection also yields in consequences which may not be suitable for the state or the society as it leads in economic disruptions, unemployment etc.
It was in December 2019, that the first case of corona virus infection was reported, a severe acute respiratory syndrome and with in few days it gained momentum and reached its heights to the global pandemic, with mortality rate reaching 3.4% but its impact on the central nervous system remains unclear. Recent studies demonstrated the presence of other strains of corona virus in the brainstem of the brain. It is cleared that the corona virus penetrate in the central nervous system mainly through the olfactory route and also through the circulatory route causing an indirect impact on brain.
With the increase in the direct brain damage in the physical and the psychological aspects, increased panic among the peoples, mass quarantine and increased pressure and medical responsibilities on medical professionals have a great impact on the global mental health. With the outbreak national polls indicate sharp increases in fear and worries relating to the virus ( Asmundson & taylor, 2020a; McCarthy,2020). furthermore, economic forecasts predicted reduced economic growth (OECD, 2020) and preliminary reports indicated increased negative attitudes to the peoples of the countries which are heavily affected.
Taylor et al. (2020) recently developed the Covid Stress Scales (CSS) which identified five factors of stress and anxiety symptoms relating to the corona virus in samples in US and Canad. These are (1) danger and contamination, (2) fears relating to economic consequences, (3) corona virus xenophobia,
(4) compulsive checking and reassurance seeking, and (5) traumatic stress symptoms. Schimmenti, Billieux, and Starcevic (2020) identified four domains of fear: (1) fear of the body, (2) fear of significant others, (3) fear of not knowing, and (4) fear of inaction. these reports provide an overview of the different types of fear and behaviour relating to the corona virus pandemic.
The process of vaccine formation nearly takes about 1 year and is available and is being used for the vaccination of the front line workers and also to the masses. With the completion of one year by novel corona virus, its impact and effects also change with the change in its strain. In this one year everyone in the world had seen the adverse impact on health, economy and various other aspects including the professional life as large number of professionals lost their jobs due to the economic disruptions and various government measures such as the lock down which causes a daily wager worker to remain at home and witnessing the ongoing degradation in their economic and potential capacities. With the completion of the vaccine formation in all aspects like the trials which concluded in three phases I, II, and III trial phases on different people in different countries ensures its accuracy and effectiveness.
Various countries across the world started the vaccination of the front-line workers and also the general masses in order to tackle the covid 19 crisis. Today there present a number of vaccines which had tested and approved by WHO.
United states food and drug administration (USFDA) authorized pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) which are based on the trials used to determine safety and effectiveness. Whereas the UK MHRA (Medicines And Healthcare products regulatory Agency) approved vaccines to be used are AstraZeneca (prepaired by university of oxford and AstraZeneca) Pfizer-BioNtech and the Moderna vaccine for the emergency use.
India on its part granted two vaccines for emergency use (as per the ministry of health and family welfare) which are authorized by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) these are Covishield ( AstraZeneca’s vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute Of India) and Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited). india being on the worst hit of the pandemic started its largest vaccination drive which now available to the masses who are above 18 years including the healthcare, front-line workers along with older adults in one or several doses.
In addition to this several other types of vaccines like the mRNA vaccine, Viral Vector vaccines is being tested and used.
Safety of vaccines
As mentioned earlier, the vaccines are tested in different phases of trials and on the peoples, still its effectiveness may vary from person to person, as per the global reports, the efficacy of different vaccines found are, Pfizer showing 91.3% effective against covid 19, measured seven days through upto six months after the second dose, AstraZeneca showing 76% vaccine efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19, 65% in symptomatic participants aged 65 years and over, Moderna vaccine 94.1% effective, Covaxin 81%.
Today as every person knows about the vaccines, its different phases of trial, its benefits , its role at the time of covid-19 crises, still there is ongoing debates and discussions about the vaccine efficacy with false assumptions of its adverse impacts. Though the vaccines are universally administered and globally tested, some of the population is reluctant to take the vaccine doses. This is probably because of the false assumptions that they filled their mind with and also pass on the same. The problem is that there is some self proclaimed experts who presents or spreads false facts, rumours, false information among the general masses causing masses to feed their minds with the facts which does not exist in real. False reports or information regarding the origin, impact, constituent, symptoms, treatment, method etc are being circulated on large scale causing fear ,social stigma and chaotic environment. The Centre For Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) reported that anti-vaxx social media accounts have gained more than eight million followers since 2019. As one knows misinformation always travel faster than facts.
As per the ipsos report , one in a three have been exposed to anti-vax messages . Here education and awareness plays and important role in minimizing the hurdles to combat the virus.
Education and Awareness
Education plays an important role in combating the crises of covid-19. As literacy rate in india is 74.04%, this means that 25.96% of population is illiterate and this 25.96% represents about 272950015 number of illiterate people . these illiterate people are more susceptible to the ongoing rumors or the false information as their inability to read and understand the transparency and the benefits of the covid-19 vaccine. They believe what they hear from others and do the same what others ask them to do without using their own mind. On the other hand it is observed that some of the literate population is also reluctant towards the covid vaccine probably because of the fear of its adverse impacts which is in rare circumstances but it is better to oppose the covid virus than not at all and which is possible only through vaccination, it is better to have covid immunity than the covid virus.
Another thing is the awareness govt. uses the broadcasting network including the tv, radio, mobile communication, social networks, ads, hoarding etc to provide awareness about the SOP’s, covid-19, covid vaccine etc. In order to provide awareness among the masses in regional and official languages so as to provide information to regional inhabitants understanding regional languages. Apart from this govt. Is also providing vaccine free of cost in some state or UTs.
Fear is a natural and powerful emotion which expresses and alert an individual at the time of danger or conditions that seems or exist other than normal. It is composed of two primary reactions, emotional and biochemical. In the covid 19 crises, fear causes among individuals an increase in mental and psychological problems as people got more panic when the government of a country takes the safety measures like the imposition of national and regional lockdowns due to the surge in covid 19 pandemic.
With the completion of the covid 19 vaccine including the trial period of the vaccine people again are in fear regarding the side effects of vaccine which they thought not suitable for the human use feeding they mind with false information and mis representation of facts. Although the vaccine was tested in different phases on different people its efficacy was questioned. Central and the state government took necessary steps in order to present the real and appropriate facts to the general masses through various channels like tv, radio, social media, internet websites etc in order to spread awareness and to encourage the masses of population to become a part of vaccination drive which is the only way along with the SOPs to tackle with the covid 19 pandemic.
By Raj Kumar an independent researcher Email: firstname.lastname@example.org