Psychiatrist says vaccine family feuds can cause anxiety

Posted at 4:30 AM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 07:57:30-04

NORFOLK, Va. – Many families are struggling with opposing views on taking the COVID-19 vaccine, or with how strictly to follow social distancing and mask guidelines during family functions. Mental health experts say the stress can cause anxiety, especially for those who support the vaccine and fear unvaccinated family members put themselves and others at risk.

“Family members who choose not to take the vaccine, we just have to respect the decision,” said renowned psychiatrist Dr. Dion Metzger. “We're not in this space to judge, but what I can determine is what situation I place myself [in].”

According to an Associated Presspoll, one in five American adults say they probably or definitely won’t get vaccinated.

While Dr. Metzger said we have to respect everyone’s personal decision, it is okay to set boundaries for your own health and safety to ease anxiety about the virus – even if removing yourself from potentially infectious environments feels uncomfortable or goes against the grain of the family.

“I don't mean to be extreme, but this is a life or death thing,” said Dr. Metzger. "You don’t have to apologize for wanting to save your life. We can be kind, but we can still be very strong in our boundaries.”

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