The use of needles or vaccines is currently the most effective treatment available in fighting COVID-19. Apart from the vaccine hesitancy fueled by anti-vaxxer campaigns, needle phobia may be one of the factors why some people are still having second thoughts about getting the jab.

Needle phobia, also called Trypanophobia, is an extreme fear of medical procedures, including injections or hypodermic needles. This type of phobia tends to be more occurrent among children and may lessen as an individual grows older. However, this phobia can persist and remain during adulthood.

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Symptoms of Needle Phobia

Having needle phobia affects an individual's blood pressure. In hours and days leading up to the injection, an individual may experience high blood and an elevated heart rate. During the injection, adults may have a drop in blood pressure and in some cases, fainting may occur. Other symptoms of needle phobia includes nausea, dizziness, anxiety, sweating, and insomnia.

Very Well Mind noted that in some cases, the anxiety over needles can get severe to the point that a person may experience a panic attack.

Kids Needle Phobia

Montreal Children's Hospital reported that needle phobia is believed to result from both genetics and experiences. The said fear of needles can also lead to missed opportunities because immunizations and blood testing can be required for jobs, trips, school, and even marriage. 

A 2012 study mentioned that 63% of children aged 6-17 were reported to have fear of needles, as well as increasing perceived pain intensity during their immunizations. 

Coping With Needle Phobia

"We do consider pain and fears of the needle to be part of vaccine hesitancy," said Pharmacist Anna Taddio in an interview with NPR adding that the fear stands as a "barrier" when it comes to vaccination.  

Since 12-15 years old are now eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, individuals with needle phobia may not seize the opportunity to get immunized against the notorious virus. Taddio shared how vaccine takers may comfortably get the COVID-19 jab with ease using a method called CARD. The method CARD stands for comfort, ask, relax, and distract. Taddio discussed how the method will help poeple with needle phobia get over their vaccine appointment and get immunized against coronavirus.


The first phase of the method is comfort. In this phase, an individual will have to think of how will they get comfortable in getting the vaccines. Thinking then applying factors such as wearing a comfortable shirt, having someone beside them while getting the jab, and their position while getting the jab will help people with fear of needles overcome the injection.


Asking about what worries an individual about the vaccine will lessen the fear of the needles.

"Ask because if you have your questions addressed again, you feel more prepared," said Taddio in the intervie. She added that asking questions can lead to discoveries like a topical pain-killing cream that can numb the skin and make the needle hurt less.

Relax and Distract

Talking to oneself like saying "I can do this" can also help a child to relax. Taddio also recommended doing deep belly breaths can "decrease the heart rate" and calm the individual. Furthermore, distracting oneself while getting the vaccine can make an individual forget about the needle phobia.

"Bringing a cell phone and playing a game, doing something else would be a really great way of having them not focus on pain," said Taddio in the interview. Taddio also noted that distraction can lessen the pain of the needle because the "brain is busy doing something else."

Getting individuals with needle phobia vaccinated against COVID-19 may be really a challenge. But applying the CARD method may help them overcome their vaccine appointments and get that jab.

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WATCH: Getting Over Needle Phobia - from New York University