Afraid of Needles? Don’t Let It Keep You From a Covid-19 Vaccine.

There are ways to overcome a fear of needles. Here’s how.

By Daniel Victor

Most people aren’t particularly fond of needles.

But to a significant number of people, the fear of needles goes beyond merely inducing anxiety into a more dangerous area, in which the fear prevents them from seeking out needed medical care.

And as the world’s hopes of returning to a post-pandemic normal rest largely on people’s willingness to take a Covid-19 vaccine, experts and health care professionals are assuring those people that there are ways to overcome this fear.

“It would be heartbreaking to me if a fear of needles held someone back from getting this vaccine, because there are things we can do to alleviate that,” said Dr. Nipunie S. Rajapakse, an infectious diseases expert at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

A study from the University of Michigan found that 16 percent of adults from several countries avoided annual flu vaccinations because of a fear of needles, and 20 percent avoided tetanus shots.

Mary Rogers, a retired University of Michigan professor and one of the authors of the study, said it was too soon to know if a similar number of people will abstain from the Covid-19 vaccine. But that fear tends to lessen as people age — which is concerning since surges of coronavirus cases have been driven by young people, who are more likely to have the phobia.

Experts say it is a problem that can be overcome, whether the fear is keeping you from getting the vaccine or just causing you distress. Here are the steps they suggest taking.

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