Needle fears can cause COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, but these strategies work

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Unmanaged needle fear is very distressing for those affected and can influence health-care choices. Science-backed methods can help people manage their phobia and get vaccinated. Photo: Pexels

(Meghan McMurtry/ The Conversation) –– Think of the last time you were really afraid — and I mean terrified: Cold sweats, trembling, pounding heart. Now think about what it would be like to have that reaction if you saw a needle or even heard people talking about COVID-19 vaccines.

For about 1 in 10 people, this is their reality, and it matters for COVID-19 vaccine campaigns. First, when we are highly anxious about something, we tend to avoid or delay it.

Second, experiencing high fear and a stress response can lead to escape behaviour (like leaving or acting aggressively), enduring the procedure under immense distress and experiencing symptoms of immunization stress-related responses, such as feeling dizzy or fainting. Third, needle fears can, in turn, be increased by experiencing or hearing about an immunization stress-related responses from others. (…)

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