And that may also convince those who refuse to vaccinate.
Many people suffer from headaches or fatigue after the corona vaccination. As a matter of fact; these complaints even seem to be one of the most common side effects after vaccination against COVID-19. But is it really the vaccine? researchers hired a new study not. According to them, these symptoms are due to the so-called “nocebo effect”; the opposite of the placebo effect.
Placebo-Effekt vs. Nocebo-Effekt
Everyone knows the placebo effect. The placebo effect is the idea that after taking a “sugar pill,” you can recover from an illness just because your brain and body believe we’ve really been treated. The nocebo effect is actually the complete opposite. In this case, you will not experience positive but negative side effects of the same sugar pill. So the negative effects occur outside of the effects of the drug or treatment.
Corona vaccine side effects
In a new study, researchers wanted to find out to what extent the corona vaccination actually causes the side effects that are regularly mentioned. Vaccination refusers or people who hesitate about taking the corona vaccination do so regularly for fear of side effects. But to what extent is this fear based on side effects?
In the study, researchers looked at 12 clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines. They then compared the number of side effects reported by participants who received a real vaccine to the number of side effects experienced by the control group (who received a fake injection). Interestingly, nearly a third of the participants using the sham injection reported at least one side effect after the first dose, the most common of which were headache and fatigue. In comparison, 46 percent of vaccinated recipients reported similar symptoms.
This means that many of the “side effects” occurred in both the vaccinated and control groups. And so the researchers conclude that at least some of the side effects mentioned are not due to the corona vaccine at all, but to the nocebo effect. In fact, the nocebo effect would even be responsible for the lion’s share of the nasty side effects after corona prick. Half to three quarters of the side effects can be a nocebo effect.
Remarkably, the number of reported side effects in the control group dropped to 32 percent after the second dose. In contrast, the participants who received a real vaccine had more side effects the second time around. The researchers calculated that the nocebo effect was responsible for almost 52 percent of the reported side effects after the second dose. According to the researchers, the higher number of side effects in the vaccination group can be explained by their experiences after the first dose, which made the participants more expectant of the second dose.
Why do people suddenly suffer from headaches or fatigue? According to the researchers, this may have something to do with a certain level of expectation after the vaccination. So it’s a bit between the ears. “In fact, leaflets about the vaccines, headaches, and fatigue are often listed as some of the most common side effects,” said researcher Ted Kaptchuk. “This can lead to people becoming hyper-awake, suddenly having a headache and wrongly attributing this to the vaccine.”
Some researchers believe that informing patients about possible side effects does more harm than good. Nevertheless, according to Kaptchuk, it is ethically necessary to always inform everyone comprehensively about the side effects. However, he would also like to mention not only the possible side effects, but also the possible nocebo effects.
According to the researchers, the results of the study could also convince those who refuse to vaccinate, who often fear side effects, since the majority of side effects that are frequently heard are not caused by the vaccine at all. “Medicine is based on trust,” says Kaptchuk. “Our results suggest that educating the public about the possible occurrence of the nocebo effect can help reduce concerns about COVID-19 vaccination. And that can also remove the doubts that exist about vaccination.”