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Millions have a real fear of needles. Overcoming that is critical for the vaccine rollout

January 12, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 19.1%. 1 min read.

Addressing the fear of needles is essential to public health right now as Covid-19 vaccines roll out around the globe. For individuals considering avoiding a Covid-19 vaccination due to their phobia, seeking treatment could be a life-and-death decision.

Getting one, however, is still an ordeal for Walker, who has needle phobia.

Anxiety about needles, though, doesn't have to meet the formal definition of a phobia to cause problems.

Individuals with relatively mild fear of needles might be able to cope with their anxiety by practicing relaxation techniques on their own, Geller explained.

When to seek help for needle phobia

Of all the methods he uses to treat phobias and anxiety at his South Pasadena, California, practice, psychologist Jeff Prater said that CBT is the most common.

"The general approach is to create a hierarchy, starting from something that does not cause them any anxiety whatsoever, and then constructing that hierarchy all the way up to the most fearful situation that they can possibly imagine connected to their needle phobia," Prater said.

Between four and 10 sessions are enough to effectively treat needle phobia for most people, Prater said.

With vaccinations for Covid-19 becoming available in the coming months, that means it's important to seek help for needle phobia as soon as possible.

While many children lose their fear of needles as they move into adulthood, full-blown phobias tend to become more severe with age, Prater said.

Only by facing anxieties head-on can an individual halt the progression of that feedback loop, Prater said.

Her own experience of needle phobia, she said, is a source of empathy that she can draw on to better connect with them.

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