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“Covid Vaccine Envy”: Are you feeling envious because you’re not next in line?

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 11:45 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -If you’re feeling envious because you’re not next in line in Wisconsin to get the COVID-19 vaccine, psychology experts said you’re not the only one.

Harvard Medical School experts said watching others get the shot while you wait can create a feeling called “vaccine envy.”

On Thursday, DHS officials announced Wisconsinites with underlying health conditions are the next group eligible to get the vaccine.

“I’m relieved and excited because I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Karen Minor, Wisconsinite next in line for COVID-19 vaccine said.

Minor said being next in line for the COVID-19 vaccine is major.

“It was a big relief because it’s kind of that cloud that hangs over your head. If I get sick, what’s my outcome going to be?” she said.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced the next eligible group to get the...
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced the next eligible group to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone over the age of 16 that has pre-existing medical conditions can get the COVID-19 vaccine starting March 29.(Aspirus Wausau Hospital)

Underlying conditions coupled with COVID-19 cut down time with her family. Minor said she had to be extra careful to stay healthy.

“They’re just trying to make it easier for me, but it’s just so hard now to be able to spend time with them,” she said.

She said the worst part was the waiting game.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of people around me that are getting it and stuff like that and it’s like okay when’s my turn?” Minor said.

Psychology experts said the scarcity effect describes the urge to want the vaccine more when there’s a limited quantity.

“There is something that others have that we don’t have and we want it even more,” Dominique Brossard, UW-Madison life sciences communication department chair said.

Brossard studies human behavior at UW-Madison. She said social media feeds packed with vaccination cards and shot selfies can trigger jealousy.

“People may feel that there’s no reason why those that have it, have that more than themselves,” she said.

So how do you cope with vaccine envy? Brossard said replace envy with hope.

“We need to remind ourselves the wait is there, but the wait won’t be long,” Brossard said.

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