6 Ways to Cope with COVID Vaccine Anxiety

COVID Vaccine

By Daniel G. Amen, MD

I had to wait 3 hours and I feel like I got punched in the arm, but I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine! As a healthcare provider, I felt it was my duty to my patients and to everyone in our clinics to do it.

What about you?

If you’re like many of our patients at Amen Clinics, you may be struggling with anxiety about the COVID-19 vaccine. Our patients have expressed a wide range of emotions about immunization. Some are worried about potentially scary side effects. Some are concerned they won’t be able to receive the vaccination. Others are angry that the shots aren’t available to all Americans yet. Still, others see the vaccine as a political move that doesn’t fit in their belief system.

Whatever is making you nervous, know that there are ways to cope with your anxious or stressful thoughts about the vaccine. Here are a few strategies I share with my patients that may help you too.

If you’re like many of our patients at Amen Clinics, you may be struggling with anxiety about the COVID-19 vaccine. There are ways to cope with your anxious or stressful thoughts about the vaccine. Click To Tweet

6 Ways to Cope With Your Anxious or Stressful Thoughts About the COVID Vaccine

1. Do your research and be aware of possible side effects.

Look to reliable sources for up-to-date information on the vaccines. On the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccines page, you can find details on how and when you can get the vaccine, possible side effects and allergic reactions, vaccine safety, and more. Being well-informed on these issues can help soothe the nervousness surrounding immunization and can answer many of the questions you may have.

2. Focus on what you can control.

Even if you’re able to receive the vaccine, you still need to take care of the #1 strategy to fight off infection by shoring up your immune system. Some important ways to do this include lowering your stress; checking and optimizing your vitamin D levels (only 25% of the U.S. population has healthy levels of vitamin D); and taking a multivitamin/mineral, omega-3 fatty acids, and therapeutic mushrooms (found to have immune-enhancing effects).

3. Practice empathy.

If you’re upset that others are getting the vaccine and you aren’t, work on empathy, which is the awareness of other people’s needs and concerns. Empathy stems from what researchers call the “mirror neuron” system in the brain. These neurons “allow us to grasp the minds of others,” according to researchers, which is why we open our own mouths when we feed a baby or yawn when others start to yawn first. We “play” their minds in our brains. Developing empathy involves a number of important skills, including mirroring, being able to get outside of yourself, and treating others in a way you would like to be treated.

4. Be patient.

Whether you’re waiting for your turn to be eligible for the vaccine, or you need to wait in a mile-long line to actually get the shot, you need patience. The brain’s prefrontal cortex (PFC) is involved in the ability to be patient. If your PFC is weak, you tend to be more impulsive and less capable of exercising patience. Boosting dopamine levels is one of the best ways to strengthen the PFC. Higher-protein, lower-carbohydrate diets tend to help, as does physical exercise, and certain stimulating supplements, such as rhodiola, green tea extract, l-theanine, and ashwagandha.

5. Kill the ANTs (automatic negative thoughts).

If the vaccine fills you with frightening thoughts, such as, “If I get the vaccine, it will give me COVID” or “I’m going to have terrible side effects from the vaccine,” recognize that these are signs of an ANT infestation. You need to challenge these thoughts. Whenever you feel sad, mad, nervous, or out of control, write down your negative thoughts. Next, ask yourself if they are really true, or if they are a bit distorted to make you feel worse. Focusing your mind on rational thoughts will help you feel much better.

6. Calm panicky feelings.

If the vaccine causes you so much stress that it makes you have a panic attack, follow these 4 steps to break an anxiety attack.

Anxiety, panic attacks, overwhelming stress, and other mental health issues can’t wait. During these uncertain times, your mental well-being is more important than ever and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.

At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.


  1. I didn’t see on the CDC site where it informs people of the government compensation program already in place if they are injured by the vaccine. The government included injury because of the COVID vaccine in the Countermeasure provisions.

    Comment by Annie Stockdale — January 29, 2021 @ 3:11 AM

  2. “Anxiety” about the vaccine is not a proper description. We are not little kids worried about the first day of school. This vaccine is experimental. There are tens of millions of citizens already exposed to the virus who did not notice it or hardly. As such, we are immune, in robust health and have every reason to believe the vaccine will degrade our health. The CDC is not a reliable source of information, Their business is selling vaccines. There is a significant history of gaslighting the public, telling us that the Federal Health agencies are interested in pubic health. There are highly reliable sources that tell us otherwise. There is no such thing as “informed consent” Only a PR drive telling us “don’t worry about it.” In other words, our fate is in the hands of medical and political authorities who have already destroyed the lives of millions of citizens and miltary personnel via mass vaccinations, all in the name of public health. Is that not a fact? To say so is “gaslighting.” The remedy is adequate public review–and debate– of policy … something our nation has lost.

    Comment by Edward J Flynn — January 29, 2021 @ 3:49 AM

  3. I appreciate these articles. They’re informative, insightful and offer positive direction. Thank you for your dedication to this publication.

    Comment by Angela Conine — January 29, 2021 @ 4:55 AM

  4. Thanks so much for this. It was so needed.

    Comment by Andrea — January 29, 2021 @ 5:53 AM

  5. I used to like reading things on this site until i read this. The fact that youre an alternative health group and you took a shot thats .not even a vaccine is appalling. Its not even been tested on animals yet and 273 babues were aborted for it. Its NOT A VACCINE. wake up. Its a molecular device which creates pathogens which enter the cells

    Comment by Brenda Roskos — January 29, 2021 @ 6:00 AM

  6. I have have had my first shot .no problem just a little tired

    Comment by Linda Eichorn — January 29, 2021 @ 6:51 AM

  7. Thanks Doc. Appreciate the covid & related info. Please continue to share updates as appropriate. You are one of our trusted sources.

    Comment by Mark & Mary Lou — January 29, 2021 @ 7:00 AM

  8. I have received my first vaccine and scheduled for the second one February 13th. I am in kidney disease with one kidney and now I am having a lot of fear about receiving the second one because reading about the healthcare worker from CA dying from receiving the second vaccine. What would be your advice since I am in kidney disease? Should I receive the second one? Thank you so much for helping me with this decision. Joan

    Comment by Joan Ayers — January 29, 2021 @ 8:04 AM

  9. My son is an Amen patient in Costa Mesa. He’s doing a great job maintaining lifestyle changes that are supporting his brain, gut and immune system, but he does have brain injury, probably from the birth process and has high functioning ASD. While I read the Covid vaccine doesn’t have thimerosal and appears to be pretty clean, I still feel reluctant to have him vaccinated. I will consult with his Amen physician but can you offer some thoughts? Thank you!

    Comment by Michelle Vergara — January 29, 2021 @ 8:47 AM

  10. Thank you both for all you do…with concern and loving hearts.
    However, I need to quit reading OTHER peoples comments to you. (I just had to erase my comments describing those people…LOL)

    Comment by CHERYL MERRICK — January 29, 2021 @ 9:03 AM

  11. My anxiety about the vaccine has to do with safety. The best way I combat it that is through RESEARCH. I don’t listen to what others in my circle say. I follow functional medicine doctors, listen to discussions, read articles and will make a determination about whether the risk of not taking the vaccine outweighs the benefits of taking it for someone my age. I will not tell others what to do. I will listen to those experts I deem to be credible and take their opinions into account.

    Comment by Elle — January 29, 2021 @ 9:09 AM

  12. Ny first Moderna vaccine dose one week ago. No side effects at all, not even a sore arm.
    Thank you for this forum for public comments. I see some misinformation in the comments which could possibly be corrected. I’m not sure why someone might think this is not a vaccine. I’m also not sure why someone else thinks the CDC is selling vaccines. Recommending, yes. My chief concern is that Moderna is only about 85% effective for older people, while Phizers seems to be higher. Oh well, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be vaccinated and can’t afford to be picky. I hope others will realize that, while no vaccine is perfect, the chances of illness from COVID are far greater. Once skeptics see others doing fine with it, I hope more will come around. I felt I owed it to my friends, family and coworkers to do this. BTW, my 74 year old husband also got the Moderna first dose and also has had no problems.

    Comment by Susan Bridges — January 29, 2021 @ 9:32 AM

  13. More confused than ever. Please provide data about the aborted baby cells being used for this vaccine; is that carte blanch? Which vaccine? Please don’t spread fear unless you can back it up. People with normal intelligence and normal inquisitive fears need truth.

    Comment by Kathy Spellman — January 29, 2021 @ 10:44 AM

  14. In addition to following you, I also follow Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, RFK Jr., and Del Bigtree. Everything I’ve learned tells me NOT to trust this vaccine. I worry about people in my life who are choosing to take the vaccine, but because it is a very personal decision, I just pray for their protection. I appreciate your honesty and willingness to share your thoughts and feelings around this vaccine, and I hope that if you experience adverse reactions to it that you will please share that with your followers. People trust you and look to you for health advice, so we really need to hear about any negative consequences that may result from you taking this vaccine, even if it’s six months or longer down the road. One worry that comes to mind is pathogenic priming.

    Comment by Monica Maffei — January 29, 2021 @ 2:00 PM

  15. Wish you were closer to minnesota

    Comment by Susan — January 29, 2021 @ 3:19 PM

  16. Jesus said “as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be upon my return”. Days of Noah: genetic mutation & corruption of all flesh, technology galore, pagan gods worship, transhumanism, a NWO, chaos, and man’s thoughts were evil ALL the time. What do we have now? GMO foods, GMO & hybrid animals, designer babies, super tech soldiers, mental manipulations, anger running rampant, increasing chaos, frequency controls, globalism NWO told about, and now… GMO humans on the way. How can we ignore and deny what is seen anymore. I agree with Dr. A on much, but not this ever, per deeper (non “conspiracy “) research and findings.

    Comment by LK — January 29, 2021 @ 3:25 PM

  17. Just go ahead and get the vaccine right away and you won’t have to waste all that time worrying! I had no side effects at all with the first injection and am awaiting the second one. So happy to be getting this protection. I remember when our town lined up to get the polio vaccine in the 60s and it was so welcome. I feel that way about this one too.

    Comment by Donna Salas — January 29, 2021 @ 4:12 PM

  18. When scratch tested I was allergic to a lot of things. I have had breast cancer an autoimmune disease. I also have ankylosis spondylitis of the spine also read it is an autoimmune disease. I have had asthma twice and pneumonia as well. So I feel skeptical about getting the vaccine, although I am 78. I also had a flue shot 30 years ago a nd that was the only time I got the flu. No more flue shots ever since. Had a reaction to the pneumococcal vaccine too. So do you think I should still get vaccine with the autoimmune diseases?

    Comment by Lucille Leverenz — January 29, 2021 @ 7:07 PM

  19. I appreciate your work greatly and respect you, but feels quite irresponsible that you didn’t discuss the thousands of injuries, and numerous deaths from this experimental injection. I’d have hoped you’d be more well informed about this .

    Comment by Amara — January 29, 2021 @ 7:40 PM

  20. I read about advice from a High Lama from Tibet when questioned in the late 1930’s about the safety of the polio vaccine -in light of poisoning of self and future generations with toxins . The spiritual leader answered with affectionate humor
    “There are no worries of a taint carrying itself into future generations or even into your own biology for long periods . What you should be concerned about , is the suffering caused to the animals and other sentient life used to create and research these vaccines . The karma /long term consequences if this , violence against other forms of life is what will have consequences for you all and your descendants . And future human societies .”
    It is worse today.

    Comment by Mary Ann Ribble — January 30, 2021 @ 12:43 AM

  21. How can Daniel Amen who has an enormous business selling supplants allow himself to be injected with a vaccine which has undergone no proper testing and if it is an MRNA vaccine could render him with possible severe autoimmune disease later
    This is utter hypocrisy . He evidently does not want to be struck off if he were to criticise vaccinations which are a multi dollar big business for Big Pharma
    Go with the Gestapo Daniel but I am no longer a fan of yours!!!!!

    Comment by Maxelll — January 30, 2021 @ 3:26 AM

  22. My anxiety is focused on the probability that I will be required to get this experimental vaccine in order to board a plane for any reason. I am in good health and do not wish to take any risks that are possible with taking the vaccine.

    Comment by Barbara smith — January 30, 2021 @ 4:20 AM

  23. The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines produced by
    Pfizer and Moderna do not require the
    use of any fetal cell cultures in order to
    manufacture (produce) the vaccine.

    I received 2 dose of the Moderna vaccine. I had no reaction after the first dose. After the second dose, I experienced flu like symptoms beginning 8 hours after and last for 24 hours

    Comment by Dana Planer — January 30, 2021 @ 4:34 AM

  24. I think antibody dependent enhancement is a huge concern since no Covid vaccines were ever tested on animals and no one knows what the long term effects will be. Plus the virus can mutate which can be of more harm to those who took the vaccine. There is no way I’m letting anyone inject that toxic poison into my body! There are many anti-viral herbs that are much safer than risking your health with the herd.

    Comment by Greg — January 30, 2021 @ 6:56 AM

  25. Here are some questions to consider and research if interested:
    1) no proof the vaccine stops transmission
    2) no proof it reduces mortality
    3) no one knows how long the vaccine will last – how many doses must you take – plus the supposed virus aka cold equivalent is not killing anyone
    4) you might test positive forever
    5) no Covid vaccine has ever worked in humans
    6) no animal studies on the mRNA vaccine that’s also never been used as a vaccine
    7) it’s SARS Cov 2 that is 78% compatible with SARS Cov 1, only in 2005 they tested Cov 1 on ferrets and after the 2nd dose and being exposed to Corona in the wild, the animals were shown to have antibody dependent enhancement which exacerbated or worsened the immune response, and they all died. No one knows if this will happen with Covid 19. Say 30% of our nurses, cops and military fall on their faces without warning
    8) we are seeing numerous neurological disorders
    9) Biden and Pence might have been injected with a placebo or something harmless
    10) PCR tests are 90% unreliable and 90% of people who test positive have absolutely NO symptoms whatsoever
    11) Sub-Saharan Africa barring South Africa has 1% of (supposed) infections as the US – and they do not wear masks or social distance.
    12) is it an experimental biological agent or vaccine and what’s the difference

    The bottom line is you need to be 100% sure about #7 – not 99%

    Comment by Greg — January 30, 2021 @ 7:16 AM

  26. Both of my pharmacist daughters had their second shots on Monday ..one had severe chills and fever within 10 hours. She was feeling better within 24 hours (Phizer)
    The other daughter had chills, fever, headache, body aches, and nausea that lasted 3 days. She was not 100% after 5 days. (Moderna)
    She sent me the side effect tables for both vaccines…Moderna had greater incidence of side effects.

    Comment by Sherry — January 30, 2021 @ 7:28 AM

  27. This really surprises me, Dr. Amen. ..You of all people are very leery of chemicals and substances that harm our brains and bodies. And you are also VERY careful with things that have not been tested thoroughly yet…
    I promote you on a regular basis but with this article I completely disagree with your endorsement of the untested Covid vaccine.
    And on another subject besides health, I have been told to read the fine print on the Covid testing waver and vaccine as it may have language that gives the government permission to follow you without a warrant.
    My anxiety is that this is not about a virus but about further government control.

    Comment by Amy R-S — January 30, 2021 @ 8:13 AM

  28. Thank you for a great article I am looking forward to my vaccination!

    Comment by Timothy Lee — January 30, 2021 @ 8:30 AM

  29. Your advice to “do your research and be aware of the possible side effects” is not very helpful as there is no research as to how the mRNA will affect your genome since they conveniently skipped the animal studies because animal studies in the past on coronavirus vaccines born out very damaging results to the animals which prevented them from continuing with human trials. In addition, even Prince Fauci stated that the vaccine is not designed to keep you from getting the virus nor from spreading the virus. So the real question is, what is the purpose of taking an unproven, potentially damaging vaccine that doesn’t protect you from a virus where 99+% of people who get it survive? We are being manipulated into relinquishing all rational thought. If you want to do some research, research Dr. Cowan who uncovered that the study Rausch et al, which most doctors site when asked if vaccines work, actually shows how vaccines were introduced into the population months after the infected rates dramatically dropped, proving that the vaccines had no impact on eliminating the disease.

    Comment by Robert B — January 30, 2021 @ 8:33 AM

  30. ? How long is the vaccine good for? If family staff and residents are vaccinated why cant the shut in see there family?

    Comment by June Bailey — January 30, 2021 @ 8:53 AM

  31. There are factually hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries from the Covid vaccine so far in the USA (typing this in late January 2021). There’s good reason to fear it could be you. The lack of liability for the manufacturers and administrators is insane.

    Imagine if you bought a vehicle that had no liability for the manufacturer or dealer if it falls apart.

    The virus has been proven less dangerous for the flu for everyone but the elderly, for whom it is more dangerous. There’s zero reason to do anything different than normal (masks, social distancing, lockdowns, etc, and you can include vaccines) – for everyone except very the most vulnerable who should be protected rather than treated how Governor Cuomo has, i.e. forced into a situation where they catch the virus and die.

    Comment by Steven Quinn — January 30, 2021 @ 11:55 AM

  32. Hi Daniel, Thanks for your efforts. Anxiety it not nervousness.. it is deeper and scarier. It makes me sad to think that people are given such false information from some sites. So many loving people who don’t want to see babies hurt are thinking there are fetus parts in the vaccine. Nothing could be farther from the truth! A cell line, not a baby part, was harvested in 1970.. over 50 years ago. The cell line is used to develop vaccines and none of the cell is in the vaccine. It isn’t the only vaccine that has been developed using the cell line. I am prolife.. for all ages and am thankful that vaccines are developed. That the genius of scientists who have been working on a corona vaccine for years were able to find one that address COVID 19. This means that many adult lives will be saved! AND NOT with baby parts. The side effects of vaccines appear in 15 to 35 days IF there are any. Rarely they are coming out at 45 days but none after that. It is important for us to seek out scientifically based, non partisan sites to get the info needed to make our decisions.

    Comment by Sindy Sands — January 30, 2021 @ 1:59 PM

  33. Thank you so much for your opinion, I greatly appreciate you making the video.
    I am sorry you are receiving negative feedback, you clearly made everyone realize it is a personal decision.
    Thank you

    Comment by Laura Polick — February 1, 2021 @ 11:50 AM

  34. Dear Readers,

    I appreciate the advice to reduce fears about whether or not to get the vaccine. I have highly valued the recommendations made by Amen clinics and Dr. Amen for several years. However, as a scientist and nurse who tests/treats COVID patients, I do believe folks should be allowed to perform their own research and make this decision for themselves, without fear of condemnation or being made to feel irresponsible or foolish should they decide to wait.

    If one has the time to look into the research, you will learn that the endpoints (i.e. goals) of the clinical trials for the mRNA vaccines were sufficient antibody production and evidence of reduced severity of symptoms and mortality in COVID positive patients compared to those who received the placebo (i.e. saline). The effectiveness of the vaccines to reduce transmission and/or prevent infection was NOT tested. Therefore, there is no reason to believe that getting the vaccine will prevent infection or reduce transmission. This is evidenced by the continued recommendation by the powers that be to mask up, social distance, etc.

    Further, as with all vaccines, there is an expected number of adverse events, including death, that will occur. Thus, it is quite reasonable for people to be hesitant about receiving an experimental vaccine which does not prevent infection or transmission and which carries the risk for an adverse outcome including, but not limited to, an allergic reaction and/or death. Also, keep in mind, Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is NOT the same as being approved for use. Therefore, I believe it is unethical for anyone to infer these vaccines have been proven to be safe, let alone effective. Though there are data to suggest this may be the case, time is required to actually PROVE this.

    Because of this, each person must have the right to weigh their own personal risk , if they contract COVID, verses the risk of an adverse reaction to the vaccine. If folks do not wish to participate in this experiment, for that’s what it truly is at this point, then it is unethical to pressure, misinform or shame them into doing so, especially in the presence of other therapies available to reduce risk from COVID iinfection.

    That said, I’d like to inform readers of the availability of monoclonal antibodies (mABs), which also have FDA EUA, as a therapeutic option if a person tests positive. These products, from Eli Lilly and Regeneron, have been available since the end of Nov 2020 and have demonstrated the ability to reduce severe symptoms and death in COVID positive patients. More recent data from Eli Lilly shows the combination of their two mABs may be able to prevent infection. Please see attached link to the most recent press release and information on how to obtain this therapy.

    I must admit, I’m perplexed that more people are not aware of this option but it appears healthcare professionals may not be promoting this either.

    Comment by PA — February 1, 2021 @ 12:05 PM

  35. The most important reason not to be nervous about the COVID vaccine is that it is not fully licensed. Under Federal Law no one can be compelled to accept it . See the Children’s Health Defense website.

    Comment by Edward Flynn — February 6, 2021 @ 12:35 AM

  36. I agree with all the others who express dismay at your unambiguous opinion that anyone expressing negative thoughts regarding any of the COVID vaccines is suffering from “ANTS”. I second all the statements others have made above regarding the very clear dangers, risks, and lack of reasons NOT to question any aspect regarding the “disease”, the suppression of proven cures, the shameless promotion, and the unquestioning attitude displayed by so many, and now even you. This is an outrageous experiment of an unproven “treatment” which is already killing many. Before the vax nearly any death was classified as COVID, after the vax all deaths are now called “expected” or “coincidental”. Before the vax the dealth rate was tiny. Now the death rate is becoming outrageous. I’m just glad my mother passed away in the care home BEFORE they came after her with the nefarious “jab”. WAKE UP~!

    Comment by B — February 7, 2021 @ 12:15 AM

  37. Oh, I also meant to mention that these vaccines are far from new having been in development for approx. 20 years, and have been tested extensively on animals. The result was successful (no deaths) with the first & second “jabs”, but upon exposure to “wild-type” coronavirus later, all or most of all the animals died. ANTS my ass.

    Comment by B — February 7, 2021 @ 12:20 AM

  38. Comments ended in February.. I am super curious to know how all those who did get the vaccine faired over these past months. I am appalled to say the least at the “approval” of the vaccine from Dr. Amen, who others like myself have seen him as someone who really “does his research” and is such a proponent to “brain health”. There is a great deal of information out there currently that goes against any suggestion that this is a ‘safe’ decision.. much less a viable vaccine. We are under attack people, worldwide.. this is about losing your rights and an overreach of government. Why are so many physicians and scientist not standing up against this? Who is holding them back?

    Comment by Dr. J — November 10, 2021 @ 5:49 PM

  39. The term “fear” can also refer to the fear of speaking up about mental health problems. The stigma that accompanies mental health issues is strong. It follows us about our homes and businesses, as well as to maintain health issues most of the people refer gummies to be healthy

    Comment by Megala — February 14, 2022 @ 2:44 AM

  40. Anxiety about the Covid vaccine is good anxiety. Just look at how many deaths there are now. It’s from the Covid shots. The Covid shot makes people sick and kills them. Please don’t take any Covid shots , they kill. Just look online people are speaking out about what happened to them and their loved ones. Their dangerous. And they also make your brains sick too. Thank you. Also dr. Amen and Tana do your research on them. If I’m saying this and you hear people say this stuff think about it please don’t you think people like me saying this we’re not saying this for nothing you think. There’s a reason . Thank you.

    Comment by Stacey — January 28, 2023 @ 12:23 PM

  41. Thank you dr. Amen for everything you do. Love all the info.

    Comment by Stacey — January 28, 2023 @ 12:33 PM

  42. Unfortunately, the anti-vaxxers show us what true educational weakness we have in this county. The uneducated and ignorant now seem to be the majority. We have also lost our concern for others and the betterment of society as well. Anyone who thinks covid is a hoax or the vaccine is under government control can prepare a decline for medical attention directive that would prohibit medical intervention should they develop covid. Of course, they won't do that instead they are begging for the vaccine once they do develop covid while they expect our hard-working medical teams to expose themselves to potential death from covid providing them with care. I am an advanced-stage cancer survivor and I have had all FIVE shots with not one side effect. These foolish comments of knowing someone who knows someone who knew someone who had a side affect Ridiculous.

    Comment by Cynthia S. — August 12, 2023 @ 7:27 AM

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