How patients can overcome needle phobia and get the COVID vaccine

needle phobia
© Leigh Prather

Dr Deborah Lee, Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, explores what can be done to help patients who refuse the COVID-19 vaccination due to needle phobia

I remember seeing a young male patient in a Sexual Health Clinic some years ago. I just casually mentioned he might need a blood test and the next thing I knew he was flat out on the floor! I hadn’t even shown him a syringe or a needle – the mere mention of the possible need for a blood test was enough for him to spark out!

This is true ‘needle phobia’ – an extreme fear of needles, which cannot be overcome by rational explanation, and is so serious that it stops patients from having the tests and the treatments they need.

At the present time, we are trying to vaccinate the whole country against COVID-19, and those with needle phobia will be at a great disadvantage. Even hearing regular news broadcasts about the need for vaccination will induce fear and panic.

Needle phobics are a group likely to refuse the COVID vaccination, which after all, involves not just one jab, but two.

What can be done to help needle phobics at this crucial time? 

What is needle phobia?

Needle phobia has a proper medical name – trypanophobia. It’s a recognised psychiatric condition, where an irrational fear of being pricked by a needle induces severe feelings of dread and anxiety.

Even the thought of an impending procedure which requires venepuncture, induces an acute anxiety response, or a panic attack – a rapid heart rate, faster breathing, sweating, and a drop in blood pressure. The result, not infrequently, is a syncopal episode – fainting and collapse.

Sufferers may fear a vasovagal fainting episode such as they have had in the past, even more than the needle procedure itself.

Those with needle phobia can also develop a fear of being controlled and can become aggressive when challenged. When we hear people arguing against the vaccine, I wonder how many of them are needle phobics.

How common is needle phobia?

Between 3-10% of UK adults suffer from needle phobia (Anxiety UK). Needle phobia is most commonly seen in children but often continues into adulthood. A 2018 meta-analysis, which included 119 research studies, reported needle phobia in almost all children, 20-50% of adolescents, and 20-30% of young people.

Why does needle phobia matter?

Having a fear of needles can have serious, negative, health consequences.

Being needle phobic can deter someone from having blood tests, accepting a blood transfusion, becoming a blood donor, having urgent surgery, or accepting a range of healthcare options including vaccinations, contraceptive injections, and implants. Insulin dependant diabetics have considerable difficulty if they suffer from needle phobia.

5-15% of the population avoid the dentist due to fear of needing a dental injection. A fear of needles can also affect education, the ability to travel, pregnancy outcome and can result in legal issues.

Overall, 16% of adults refuse flu injections because of needle phobia. 27% of hospital employees, 18% of those working in long term care institutions and 8% of healthcare workers, refuse a flu vaccination due to needle phobia.

Why do some people develop needle phobia?

The cause of needle phobia may never be discovered. However, 80% of those affected have a first-degree relative who suffers from the same condition. It may be this is a learned response.

Sometimes, needle phobia may develop following a long period of illness such as treatment for childhood cancer, or witnessing a close relative go through a protracted period of medical care.

There may be genetic differences in people’s perception of pain, meaning some experience far more pain than others being pricked by a needle. Interestingly, needle phobia is more common in monozygotic than in dizygotic twins.

Some have suggested the fear of needles is a primitive response which evolved to help people avoid injuries such as stab wounds, which would have been fatal. 

What to do about needle phobia?

Healthcare professionals need to realise the importance of needle phobia. It can be frustrating in a busy clinic to find a patient with needle phobia. However, this needs to be treated with patience and kindness. Let’s remember that pain management is a human right.

Now, amid the COVID-29 pandemic, is a perfect time to address this problem, help patients overcome their fears, and improve their opportunities for healthcare in the future.

  1. Explain the ‘fight, fright, and flight’ mechanism of anxiety. This is a normal physiological response. However, the patient can learn to control it.
  2. Teach the patient how to perform diaphragmatic breathing. They can be doing this at home before their venepuncture appointment, outside in the waiting room, and even during the procedure.
  3. We can all learn to control our thoughts and emotions. For example, fix your gaze on an object in the room and study it carefully. Focus on that object and don’t allow your mind to wander.
  4. Think positive thoughts … ‘I can do this … I will do this …’ not negative thoughts.

Patients can be referred to the Psychology Team for further help. The technique employed is often to break the process of venepunctures into a series of small steps –

  1. Look at a needle.
  2. Hold a needle in your hand.
  3. Inject an orange with water.
  4. Watch someone having an injection on TV.
  5. Watch another person having an injection.
  6. Have an injection.

(Mood Café 2015)

Managing needle phobia

Patients should be referred to their GP for further help. They may be offered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is very effective. Patients can even self-refer for NHS talking therapies.

Managing anxiety sometimes requires anti-anxiety medication – beta-blockers, serotonin or noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s, SNRI’s), benzodiazepines, or pregabalin.

In the short term, if venepuncture is needed, the patient may benefit from the use of Emla cream which can be applied one hour before the procedure. Some may need a single dose of diazepam.

There are a variety of free – NHS apps available for anxiety.

Final thoughts

Needle phobia is a serious condition which deserves attention. By recognising this, and helping patients receive appropriate help, we can help improve their health care and life choices, now and in the future. If patients are refusing the COVID-19 vaccination due to needle phobia, now is the time to take action.

Overcoming needle phobia is vital for a fully successful COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

For more information

67 COMMENTS

  1. Just had my 1st shot. I have a serious fear of needles. Told that to the doctor, she asked me to lay down instead of sitting down. The shot literally felt like somebody’s lightly touching me with their tiny finger. Not even a small pinch. No need to worry, if that’s why you don’t want to get it.

  2. My wife and I are CNHC-registered hypnotherapists. We are currently offering hypnotherapy for needle phobia free of charge. This is a simple one-stop session with which we have had a 100% success rate. We would be happy to discuss how we work with anyone for whom needles are a problem.

  3. I suffer from this severely, as a 22 year old I was almost certainly going to avoid getting the vaccine, or at the very least wait until a single dose is approved for use in the UK so I only have to go through it once, there’s a very horrible and hostile attitude towards people who don’t want the vaccine at the moment which I’m worried about and talk of domestic vaccine passports also worries me, I don’t think people who don’t suffer from trypanophobia have any idea how difficult this is for sufferers,.

    • People really don’t understand. I went for my covid jab this morning at the Hospital. The staff were lovely, they had arranged for entonox to be administered in order to help me relax. I still couldn’t go through with it. You feel so foolish afterwards but I was heartbroken when I got home. I had a terrible experience when I was about 14 when I was physically held down and forced to have an injection. That’s what is in my head when I go for a jab. I know it doesn’t hurt and that everything will be fine, but trypanophobia overrides rationality. I could probably inject myself, it’s just someone else doing it.

      • Agree with you 100% they need to come up with something other than needles for people like us they know it is a big problem they just do not understand the fear

      • This story hits so close to home. The feeling of defeat after you freak out is just as bad, if not worse than the panic you feel during the event.
        I have said so many times I think I could do this myself if they would let me do it myself.
        The most annoying thing people can say is “It doesent hurt” I am not concerned about the pain at all.

      • Your experience as a child sounds very traumatic. I’m so sorry that happened to you. My brother had a similar experience as a child and through him I have developed the same phobia. To overcome it, I was told that when you go in to have the injection you say to the nurse that they cannot give you the injection until you ask them to do it and only after you’ve given them permission, to do it on the word ‘now’. It can be done very politely but it’s just that this way, you are given complete control back. It may sound silly but it’s worked for me and him. Have you ever tried that?

        Big congratulations to you for trying! You deserve massive credit for that and you’re definitely not foolish.

      • I too have a phobia that was made far, far worse by a medical team trying to force me to have a vaccination (Rubella) when I was 14. I get pretty fed up with unhelpful comments from friends such as ‘it doesn’t hurt’ – I’m not frightened of the pain, I’m frightened of the needle and the association in my mind of a medical professional physically trying to force me to do something without my consent.

        I’m desperate to have the vaccine but have tried every technique/therapy out there with no luck. I’m just going to have to wait for the oral/nasal version and continue to try to explain that I am not an anti-vaxxer.

      • Please tell me which hospital this was where you were offered laughing gas! I need to get one and have phobia…and it doesn’t seem that any place around me offers entonox/laughing gas. Thank you

    • I know exactly how you feel . I have the same condition and I have severe anxiety, despite being told by most people who have had it that it doesn’t hurt. I’ve had many injections but I think it’s the going on my own and the second jab after that. I think we’ll be OK. Be strong. Look away, it’ll be over in seconds.. You’ll be proud of yourself afterwards. Get the Emla cream. I did for a blood test and you don’t really feel it. But I feel for you. Good luck. Xx

  4. Very much agree with MH above. This is keeping me awake at night, and now ruining my life. I’ve tried to overcome this even with using sewing needles (sterilized) to see if I can get accustomed at least, no chance at all. I can hardly bring myself to break the skin. And if your successful with that even, it’s apparently only around 30% of the real thing. People like us are not anti-vaxers, if this were a nasal spray or pill I’d be at the front of the queue. Feels like we have no help, nobody to even talk to and it’s hell.

    • I have the phobia and for years have denied myself the Flu vaccine. I plucked up the courage and went for it as my Cousin’s healthy husband (52) died last month from COVID, this resonated that we MUST be protected.
      I attended the vaccination centre and informed the Nurse of my phobia, I was taken to another area to lie down and as she rubbed the area to clean it, she advised me to take a few deep breaths to relax, I closed my eyes and asked her not to tell me when she was injecting me; wow! no pain whatsoever, the needle is so thin and you don’t feel the liquid going in; totally different to a sewing needle as these are not designed to pierce human skin!
      Please attend and have the vaccination, it has helped me get over my phobia of 30years!
      I honestly have no anxiety attending for my 2nd and final dose.
      Good Luck, you can do it!!

  5. I have had needle phobia for years…..tried hypnotherapy years ago…it helped at the time but i still fear needles or procedures….now wondering how I will cope in the last days of my life,,,,^.^

  6. Its embarrasing. Its hard to explain the feeling to people and they dont understand. For me its the impending puncture, the lead up, knowing its coming. Had to pull out of a meds review blood test recently whilst sat in the nurses chair as i had a panic attack. Felt so stupid. Hate myself, but just cant help it. I have had my vaccine invite and not taken it up. Awful.
    Any hypnotherapy help appreciated, anything worth a try to be freed from these chains.

    Glenn

    • Hello Glenn
      I think its really helpful that you are aware of which aspects make you anxious or frighten you.
      Unfortunately in my experience I had found that those working in the medical sector make assumptions about what I am scared of. I have repeatedly tried to explain my own experience and with different levels of success. I find it very wearing doing this as so often my message fails to get through to them. I don’t know if it helps you but please don’t believe that you are the only person struggling with this.

  7. I am a qualified NCH and CNHC-registered hypnotherapist working online. I offer a very gentle but effective technique whereby we break the phobia down into manageable steps and work through them using hypnosis. I have had a lot of success with many different phobias. I offer a free initial consultation so please just come and have a chat about how I can help. You really don’t have to suffer. https://www.lauraculleyhypnotherapy.co.uk/

  8. I had my Covid vaccine yesterday & I can honesty say it didn’t hurt at all I feel silly now I made such a fuss before having it, I’m needle phobic & had my letter on Friday to say I could have it I was crying, I chucked the letter in the floor got myself in such a state but then remembered my Nan was scared of being locked in anywhere & gif whrse as she got older she was recommended rescue remedy & it helped her relax so I thought right I’m trying it, it says take 3 drops under your tongue I did nothing, took another 3 nothing took 3 more felt very relaxed. I then rang the doctor to say I can’t have it done as I’m needle phobic but as I’m a carer & have teenage kids I want it but just too scared to have it. She prescribed me diazepam & cream for my arm to numb it, just by talking to her & knowing I could have something I felt so much better. Anyway I still didn’t book it as I was only offered the jab in big places not near to where I live, luckily yesterday morning my doctors texted me with an offer of it at my doctors surgery & there was a space available 3 hours later, I got brave & went for it, the cream I put in the wrong place on my arm so they didn’t even do it there but didn’t tell me till after & the diazepam I was a bit worried to take as ive never been offered it before, I was scared I’d be a zombie or tired but no nothing it just helped me relax enough to have the jab, I told the nurses & doctors I was scared they distracted me & they done it without telling me, I didn’t feel anything only a slight touch no scratch nothing I couldn’t believe it. I’d love hypnotherapy please as I’m such a worrier when it comes to needles, I haven’t had my flu jab & im due to have a blood test but couldn’t face it, hopefully either with hydrotherapy or diazepam I will get through!

    • Hi Hannah,

      Please get in touch and we can arrange a free consultation online. You really don’t need Diazepam when you can just rewire your brain a little with some hypnosis and feel naturally relaxed and calm when having any sort of injection or blood test. It is a much better way to deal with anxiety rather than relying on drugs. I only wish the NHS would offer hypnotherapy! Maybe one day… https://www.lauraculleyhypnotherapy.co.uk/

      • I have tried hypnotherapy a number of times during life long struggle with needle phobia but found that I could not be hypnotized. Thing that got me through my first blood test (way more scary than a shot) was Diazepam, this stopped getting anywhere near the Vasovagal syncope (fainting) problem and generally keeps you calm enough to cope with the whole thing. A doctor once warned me that fainting can be dangerous and they would rather not put people in that position,
        So successful was Diazepam that I now don’t get anxious before a procedure, in fact I am writing this on the evening before my vaccine shot and have no anxiety whatsoever!
        Please don’t discourage use of Diazepam as for me, this was the miracle cure to a condition that has caused me in the past to forgo blood tests and further medical help.

  9. I have a pain syndrome which means if a needle touches my skin i will an induced flare up where the pain causes not just nausea but vomiting and my hands go into spasms and fists and the only way to release them is to break my fingers. The only thing my GP can offer in the way of advice well covid19 might be worse help

  10. I had astra zenica jab yesterday, there’s nothing to it , not even 5 minutes and you are in and out. I just need one more astra zenica jab. Then I am done.

  11. I am James Hamilton, M.D. & I wrote the original paper that defined needle phobia (“Needle Phobia: A Neglected Diagnosis,” Journal of Family Practice, 1995). I strongly recommend that anyone with needle phobia read this paper and share a copy with your doctor and all others involved with your health care since it could be life-saving. Also helpful is “A Case Report of Needle Phobia” in the same journal in 1991 which reports my own needle phobia.

    I thank you for your relevant advice here. Let me mention that the only correct name for this condition is “needle phobia” —- I prefer a name that is easy to remember. It is basically genetic, but can be modified by experience. While hypnosis and psychotherapy have variable influence, an ice pack x 15 minutes, perhaps with EMLA, a benzodiazepine, nitrous gas and/or Benadryl or other soporific, can be very effective. The commercial nerve-blocking devices called Buzzy or the ShotBlocker help 50-80% of patients.

    I hope that these comments are helpful for those with this serious impediment to healthcare. Anyone with questions is welcome to email me at doch1422@gmail.com.

  12. 1. Please stop calling it “the jab” because that doesn’t help me. Neither does having photos of needles on web pages for needle phobia!
    2. People who have a phobia with the same name cannot be assumed to have the same fears and need exactly the same approach
    3. My GPs surgery have told me my turn is coming up so I told them I am needle phobic and the response I got was surprise and how they hadnt had anyone say that. I am struggling to find guidance for getting support. I remember the mass school vaccination programs from being a child and it terrifies me to do it that way again.
    4. It isn’t like I don’t understand that t is a very good idea for as many as possible to be vaccinated but with a significant proportion of the population being needle phobic I had hoped there would be more support and for communication on how to accesss it.
    I am incredibly anxious about this
    5. Talkof them drafting in volunteers to do this is even more scary. Training someone on an orange isnt going to be that helpful when you consider the holistic patient. We arent just inanimate unemotional lumps of meat

  13. Hi all, I’ve always been afraid of needles and having blood tests as a child. In 2015 I went to A&E with my boyfriend and watched him have a injection in his toe. About 30 seconds later I felt the need to RUN and then about 3 steps later I hit the deck, completely knocked myself out cold. I could hear music and a warm fuzzy feeling and then came around with nurses picking me up. Ended up in the bed next to him lol. At the time I found it funny but then days, weeks months later it was affecting my every day life. I was PETRIFIED of passing out again, so I would avoid most social situations just incase needles would come up in a conversation (even though it would be unlikely someone would talk about that non covid times) it caused panic attacks and constant day to day fear. After about a year of this, I finally plucked up the courage to speak to someone because it getting worse by the day. (So much so I nearly quit my coffee job day 1 because they had temperature thermometers and they looked somewhat similar) I did cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy. I went from.not even being able to.say the word, to not even looking at a cartoon image, all the way up to holding one. The way I avoided fainting was something my therapist referred to as ‘Applied tension technique’ where you increase your blood pressure to avoid fainting. That’s what scientifically stopped me from passing out in session. I would highly recommend using this technique, practice day by day, little by little and you’ll be able to do this. I got my Vaccination letter through last week and its been on my mind, truth be told I’m petrified but the anxiety 2020/2021 has caused me with Covid has been awful so for the 10 seconds this will take its worth it for me.

  14. I’m absolutely terrified and just turned down the vaccine, if it was a one off I may just have managed with support of partner to muster up the courage to go, but its 2 and its annual and I can’t face it. I’ve been in complete meltdown since I got my text message, then doctor called and now a letter. I just want to be left alone

  15. The fact that the vaccination is at a mass centre – no chance of getting it done in private was a big problem for me. My GP was not particularly sympathetic and refused to give me diazepam. So I took Valerian Plus which seemed to help. I cried at reception but they were very kind and the vaccinator was great. Didn’t feel the needle and was in and out of the centre in 5 minutes. I do wish there was more understanding of needle phobia though.

    • I’m with you on that. People just don’t get it. I said it’s not about pain. Don’t try to rationalize an irrational fear it doesn’t work. I am 69 years old I’ve been called a baby I’ve been told to suck it up and it’s just not going to happen. I have managed to be able to get an IV get blood work but I cannot get past somebody sticking a piece of steel into the middle of my muscle I just can’t do it. When I have the other procedures I usually have a lorazepam which calms me down and the doctor is always willing to give me one. I don’t think that would help in this particular instance. I’m getting a lot of flak but I can’t do it I just can’t do it

  16. I am so glad I found this page as I haven’t heard anything on the media about people who have needle phobia and having the Covid vaccine. I usually faint for anything needle related. It’s nothing to do with pain – I can cope with that – it’s just the thought but people don’t seem to understand this. Even lying down doesn’t always help as when I get up I often faint – a delayed reaction. I too dread the idea of going to a mass vaccination centre with no privacy so I’m going to wait for my surgery to offer it to me at a Saturday clinic as I believe they will still offer this and if I pass out at least it will be in private. A couple of years ago I had to have an operation which involved blood tests beforehand. Naturally I was dreading these but I had a go at self hypnosis/meditation and it seemed to work as I had 3 blood tests without fainting but did faint when they put a cannula in my arm. I have also heard about the applied tension technique so will give that a go. Interestingly I have never had a problem with injections at the dentist.

  17. I’m also so glad I came across this as I thought I was the only one! Everything resonates completely with me, though in my case I seem to be able to give blood and don’t mind blood tests that much – but it’s the feeling of something being injected, rather than the needle, that seems to set me off. The whole thing terrifies me – and I know I’ll get a letter very soon. Like lots of other people I can barely say the word, and certainly can’t watch anything on telly (and hte word jab – similtaneously brutal and as if it’s no big deal). I hate the idea of the mass vaccination centre too. I have been going over and over in my head whether I can avoid it but it seems increasingly unlikely. I wish the J&J one had been approved as the idea of one dose would be more bearable. There seems to be quite a lot of research going on into nasal sprays and pills so perhaps those will be available in the not too distant future – huge benefit to everyone around the world, not just the phobics.

    • I agree Lucy
      I don’t fear needles. I’ve had plenty of blood tests and dental work. I fear the actual vaccine poison me and make me unwell. Too many side effects.

  18. If you are thinking of forgoing the vaccine because of a needle phobia please ask your doctor for Diazepam, this has helped cure me of a very serious needle phobia (in my early days I passed out a number of times including while having a cholesterol thumb prick test!) I have experienced unsympathetic reactions from (mainly) nurses, one of whom laughed in my face! (I’m a six foot male, I suppose the image is amusing). But one lovely doctor listened and explained the Vasovagal syncope and prescribed Diazepam, this completely turned my life around and I now suffer no anxiety when faced with a procedure involving needles, I actually don’t even need Diazepam anymore.

    • I have diazepam prescription. It’s the only med I occasionally take 2mg. Only for sleeping.
      But it won’t protect against flu like symptoms or other side effects such as vomiting
      So it won’t help me here in this case

  19. Can anyone help me? My phobia isn’t of the needle. It’s of side effects. I couldn’t cope with them and may attempt self harm or even as far as suicide if a vaccine made me unwell. My anxiety issues mean that I need to drive away from my house and escape so I am not left alone to suffer in the event of any illness whatsoever.
    If I feel ill I want to punish my body for trapping me. I have nobody with me to watch me. So I have to avoid being ill. I have not taken any medications because of fear of side effects in 25 years. In my youth I took tablets and had nasty side effects. Now I won’t dare risk anything in case I am left ill and unable to drive and escape. I am diagnosed autistic and PTSD and OCD

  20. I have needle phobia for the last 30 years. All these years I’m trying different therapies. None helps. It’s literally impossible to get help in the UK. The only source is Anxiety UK, but their page is full of needle photos, so I can’t even read it.

  21. I wi I could reassure you all about having the vaccine I have had severe anxiety issues for 35 years – agoraphobia gad etc. So just getting to the surgery is an issue for me and the thought of the vaccine and waiting around is awful my mind just moves into over drive and the anxiety feels awful .
    On the day of my appointment I just wanted to run away but I watched “Finding Derek” and knew I had to have the vaccine even if I collapsed having it done! From arriving to leaving it was 2 minutes and I didn’t feel a thing I was waiting for it but was told I could go!! Absolutely so easy and the elation of getting through it is amazing I’m still riding the high!! Please please believe me you can do it when you go take someone and talk or distract yourself whilst waiting I know it is so hard to deal with when your body and mind are screaming run away but face your fear you can do it and the feelin after gives you such a buzz and a feeling you can conquer anything x

  22. I thought I would give an update on my experience. My local surgery stopped doing Saturday clinics so the only option was the mass vaccination centre. I booked for last Friday evening and chose the last available slot. On arrival it was very quiet and I was the only person there apart from medical and admin staff. I explained that I could easily pass out so not only did they let my husband go in with me they also said I could go into a room which had a bed in it. The layout of the centre meant there wasn’t much clinical equipment on show. We were taken into the room by a lovely paramedic gentleman who was so reassuring, calm and kind and didn’t make me feel silly. We talked generally for a couple of minutes and then when he administered the vaccine I asked him not to tell me anything until it was over. I felt a little prick but it didn’t hurt and was over quickly. The fact that it wasn’t busy and that I could have a private room helped enormously. I sat in the chair rather than lay on the bed but it was reassuring to know a bed was there if I felt faint. It was useful having my husband with me too. In the week prior I had been doing some self hypnosis/meditation techniques which I like to think helped me. For others dreading the vaccine I would suggest:-
    1. some form of meditation/hypnosis,
    2. ask if there is a private room available at the centre
    3. ask if someone can go with you
    4. try and get the last slot of the day because it is less likely to be busy and therefore not so stressful
    Naturally, I’m not looking forward to my second vaccine and I’m not sure that I could have an annual booster but that’s all for the future. As regards side effects, I woke up yesterday with a headache, aching arm and a feeling of tiredness. I rested most of the day and took a paracetamol. Today I feel fine. I hope this helps others.

  23. Well I finally did it, booked it for early Saturday morning and to be honest started my melt down as I approached the building. A young girl came and escorted me straight through, she filled in my paperwork for me, I couldn’t hold the pen I was shaking uncontrollably and couldn’t see because I was crying too much. She took me to the nurse at the station and a male nurse took me to the booth, 2 ladies put a screen round me so my meltdown was private, a nurse held my hand while the man did my vaccination to be fair ut didn’t hurt but my rationale goes out the window. I honestly can’t thank them all enough they were absolutely amazing and I’m so proud of myself but oh its such a draining experience and I know il be as bad the next time, but I did it, go me

  24. My fear came out of nowhere, was at school , watching another boy before me get his done. I just freaked out and refused all injections for anything ever since. Im 33 now.

    Now with covid, I don’t really have much choice yet still my mind refuses to push me to get it done. Its more the idea I dont like the pain element to it. Ive been offered it 3 times and I cant bring myself to get it done 🙁

    I work in the NHS with the ambulance service, as a covid testing operative, so I am on the frontline all the time 🙁 I need to work, but every day Im putting my life at risk. Its soul destroying.
    I feel happy helping others but deep down I really need help myself on this.
    Any suggestions are most welcome

  25. I will literally probably never allow venipuncture again unless my life depends on it. That said, there’s a HUGE difference, pain-wise, between a 21g needle going into a vein and a 25 or 28g needle being used in a quick, low volume IM injection. The COVID shot is truly no biggie — not even in the same realm as a blood draw. Get it!! I did!!

  26. I’ve had needle phobia for over 40 years — I managed a 40 hour labour with only gas and air rather than have anything intravenous. I have really struggled with the flood of images and news articles in recent months about vaccines, but knew that somehow, I had to have it. Until this year, I have avoided any vaccination since 1978. In tha past, I have tried hypnotherapy, EMDR, exposure therapy, psychotherapy. They have all helped reduce my anxiety and I no longer feel violent when unexpectedly approached about a blood test or injection. However, the intense fear and terror has not gone, I have panic attacks and cry hysterically, so embarrassing. What I have done is to have Zopiclone prescribed. I used Diazepam for a blood test but managed to have a panic attack on that! I have had my first shot and am having my second tomorrow morning. I took 2 Zopiclone and did loads of mindfulness and grounding exercises. I still felt tearful, scared and panicky but I got it done! Terrified about tomorrow but know I can do it again. Anyone with this phobia, do what works for you, be open to anything and remember that YOU are in control and can ask for what you need.

  27. I have had a phobia of needles since childhood. I had a terrible experience with my TB ECG vaccine when I was 11. I was in such a state that I had to be taken to the vaccination room by a teacher, who then stayed with me throughout the process.
    Now 36 years later, and I haven’t had any form of vaccination since. I have always refused the flu jab when offered, and even had some dental treatment without an injection, until I got to the point where I couldn’t face that anymore and now don’t go there either.
    Nobody understands my phobia of needles. Everyone I speak to asks me when – not if – I am going to have the Covid vaccine. When I explain to them I can’t do it, the responses I have had are terrible. The most upsetting one was when my sister and brother in law came for a day in the garden a couple of weeks ago. My sister is a qualified nurse, so I thought she would have dealt with this before and been more understanding. Apparently not. My brother in law said ‘don’t expect us to visit you in hospital when you get Covid’.
    I still can’t bring myself to go, and now I feel even less like getting the vaccine after what I’ve been through.

  28. I am completely needle phobic and due to being high risk was called for the vaccine sooner than expected. Immediately had a meltdown but talked to my daughter who is also phobic so I knew she would not dismiss it. I also called a psychiatrist friend who I knew would not dismiss it either. I had almost gotten a handle on at least getting blood tests done until the deluge of photos of people getting this vaccine (covid) which increased my terror 1000 fold. I also have CPTSD and find it difficult to leave my house. I took two xanax and with courage in both hands went yesterday to my GP. The nurses were so kind, understood absolutely and let me in a room on my own. They also did not let me wait long. I did not tell many people about the phobia as I wanted to avoid the ‘ah you’ll be fine if you look away’ ‘don’t be silly’ ‘it doesn’t hurt’ etc. because these people did not get the fact that none of these things are the problem. I got through it and the nurses allowed me to sit there sipping water until I was ready to leave. I then sat in my car frozen in place in tears for over 2hrs in a post shock reaction. At least it is done and I was lucky enough to get the pfizer so I only have four weeks to live through panic before the next one. Poor people have to wait 12 weeks for the Astra Zeneca one. Very glad to have found this site where there are others who understand too.

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