Yale clinical psychologist gives tips on overcoming fear of needles as we reach for herd immunity with COVID vaccine


(WTNH) — In order to reach herd immunity, that may mean some of us are going to have to get over their fear of needles. News 8 spoke with a Yale clinical psychologist to find out some easy ways to try and cope.

Many know getting the vaccine is the right thing to do but they just can’t shake their fear of needles. A recent study done at the University of Michigan found about 20 percent of adults don’t get the flu shot every year because they simply are scared of needles.

And it’s more common in younger adults. Yale Clinical Psychologist Dr. Marney White leads a group therapy on this issue and says only two to three percent suffer from an actual phobia. and will faint or become weak when faced with them.

“When it comes to a needle phobia, people might have just worked up this fear over time and it will interfere with their activities or with their functioning,” Dr. Marney White, Assoc. Prof. of Psychiatry, Yale. “So, if you’re interested in the vaccine and needles just make you squirmish, having a support person is recommended, but that’s not possible at a lot of these clinics.”

Dr. White recommends listening to relaxing music or watching a comedy on your phone, something to keep your mind distracted.

Also, don’t look at the needle. It’s also a good idea to tell the person who is giving you the shot that you have a fear of needles.

She says the good thing about this fear is that it can be beaten.

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