Though testing shows COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at fighting off the virus, that may not be true for everyone.
"One of the things that happens whenever people have any sort of mental health concern is that it does deplete some of the chemicals in our brain which can also then lead to compromising our immune system," said Janie Chappell, a nurse at Deaconess Crosspointe in Evansville.
A new study finds factors like depression, stress and loneliness can weaken the body’s ability to develop an immune response to vaccines and may even reduce the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Chappell offered some insight as to why that might be.
"Part of that vaccine is about boosting your immune system to work and build our own antibodies," she said. "So if you're already at a deficit with your immune system that could be why it could take longer."
Those with anxiety and depression can suffer from the mental illnesses for a long time, lengthening the amount of time it takes to develop immunity as well as shorten how long that immunity lasts.
But Chappell said there are ways to boost it.
"Exercise, good sleep -- getting good sleep -- eating well is a huge one," Chappell said. "Nutrition impacts our mental health in a lot of different ways that people just don't think about either in terms of chemicals in our brain and how they're influenced by our nutrition."
And researchers on the study suggest if you suffer from these mental illnesses and plan on getting the vaccine exercise and get a good night's sleep 24 hours before
That will help to maximize your immune system's initial response.