Almost nine million people are yet to receive their booster jabs despite the government’s renewed campaign to get the nation jabbed by the end of 2021.
But getting vaccinated is not a straightforward procedure for everyone.
According to Anxiety UK, between 3.5% and 10% of people have a phobia of injections, also known as needle phobia.
An Oxford University survey from 2021 with more than 15,000 UK adults found needle phobia accounted for 10% of vaccine hesitancy.
It’s particularly common in children and teenagers, meaning a simple medical process like getting vaccinated or having a blood test can become a big deal.
Here are some tips to help people cope with such a fear when it comes to their Covid vaccinations.
How to get vaccinated if you have needle phobia
1. Book an appointment first, and then remind yourself you can cancel it at any point.
2. Consider watching someone receive an injection on TV or in real life to help yourself get used to the idea.
3. Talk through your worries with other people.
4. Eat and drink beforehand so you don’t feel lightheaded.
5. Tell the people working at the vaccination centre as soon as you can about your phobia. It will fall under the “medically relevant information” section.
6. Ask for an experienced administrator and make sure they are aware of your phobia too.
7. Apply the local anaesthetic cream called EMLA, which you can buy from pharmacists. It stops you feeling any pain but you may still feel pressure.
8. Think positive thoughts and breathe deeply. You can use the applied tension technique to prevent yourself fainting, where you tense some muscles in your limbs for 15 seconds at a time and then relax them. Do this five times.
9. Congratulate yourself when it’s over – you’ve done it.
In the long-term, it may be best to seek Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or anti-anxiety medication to overcome the phobia. Speak to your GP for more advice.
If you’re working in a vaccine centre, you can help by
1. Addressing the person’s fear quietly and privately.
2. Providing somewhere private for them lie down during and after.
Vaccination teams usually have experience of dealing with patients who have a phobia of needles and are careful not to rush them.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.