Needle phobia therapy could encourage more people to get Covid jab

A member of the medical team administers a Covid-19 vaccine injection at the NHS vaccination centre

Needles have become a big part of the news in recent months but not everyone is comfortable with them - Credit: Leon Neal/PA

Therapy is to be offered to help people in Suffolk who have a fear of needles in the wake of the coronavirus vaccine.  

Wellbeing Suffolk will be offering support to those who may have such a phobia, known as trypanophobia, following the high-profile coronavirus vaccine rollout.  

It's believed that around 3.5%- 10% of the UK population may have a fear of needles. 

The help comes at a time where all over 18s are able to have a coronavirus vaccine.  

A fear of needles, in younger people in particular, has also been associated with vasovagal reactions or fainting in people who have had the coronavirus vaccine. 

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The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said it was aware that fainting was an issue for some people but said that no new safety concerns had been raised as younger people had started to receive the vaccine.  

An MHRA spokesman said: “Anxiety-related reactions, including vasovagal reactions (fainting), are well known to occur in association with any vaccination, particularly in younger populations, because of a fear of needles, rather than the vaccine itself.”  

It's hoped that by offering the therapy more people will be able to receive jabs now and in the future. 

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The support offered by Wellbeing Suffolk will be through cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).  

CBT is a talking therapy that helps people overcome their problems by changing the way they think and behave. It is often used to treat conditions such as anxiety and depression.  

For needle phobia the main part of CBT involves gradual exposure to the fear so that you feel less anxious about it. 

This is known as desensitisation or exposure therapy. It works by increasing the level of exposure to needles and injections, which allows people to gain control. 

Nesta Reeve, consultant clinical psychologist at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: “Needle phobia is a serious condition which deserves attention. By recognising this, and helping patients receive appropriate help, we can help improve their health care and life choices, now and in the future.” 

To access the free therapy, you can self-refer on the Wellbeing website or call 0300 123 1503. 

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