02 Dec Essex-based Therapist Karl Rollison explains why Trypanophobia sufferers will refuse the Covid Vaccine
Why Trypanophobia sufferers will refuse the Covid Vaccine
Isn’t it fantastic that the whole world has pulled together to develop a Covid Vaccine? And, with the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine beginning next week and we may be able return to some form of normality in 2021. Not everyone is happy though! Some people would rather suffer all the restrictions and uncertainty that Covid has generated than receiving immunisation. Why? Well it’s nothing to do with the vaccine itself but more to do with the manner in which it will be administered. I’m talking about intravenous injections and for these people NOTHING is more terrifying. They suffer from a very real condition called ‘Trypanophobia’ or ‘needle phobia’ and some research suggests that it could be one of the biggest causes of preventable deaths on the Planet!
I’ve successfully helped people deal with every type of phobia all over the world for years now but nothing was more shocking for me than realising just how damaging this condition can be. My usually uber-confident Niece was due to undergo a batch of blood tests but rather than deal with it in her usual, care-free manner, she had to be sedated. I’ve witnessed loads of extreme phobic reactions over the years but what I realised then was that having an extreme Spider phobia could be easily managed by simply AVOIDING them but you can’t go through your life avoiding needles. Even if you’re lucky enough to experience good health, you’ll still need some form of dental care or a vaccination at some point. It’s inevitable.
Over the years I’ve conducted my own field research into Trypanophobia, I make a point of asking everyone if they have a fear of needles. Take it from me, it is ABUNDANT!
What’s the impact?
In 2012 the American corporation Target commissioned the market research agency Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey regarding reasons why 60% of Americans abstained from receiving the flu jab. They found that 23% refused due directly to Trypanophobia. That’s 1 in 4 of the adults surveyed! If that’s an accurate reflection of society as a whole then…
Needle phobia could well be the number one cause of premature deaths in the WORLD! If that sounds rather vague, think about technical aspects of all this: if people avoid hospital due to extreme needle phobias and die as a result, how would the data be collated? Not by the Hospitals. When the Coroner or Pathologist is performing a post mortem there isn’t a box on his checklist that says ‘Death attributed to extreme phobia’, it’ll be recorded as either ‘natural’ or ‘undetermined’.
There are also the not-so-obvious effects – my Niece’s phobia had also prevented her receiving travel-related inoculations like Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Cholera, Tetanus etc. This prevented her satisfying her ambition of seeing the World. There are untold amounts of people out there whose desire to explore this beautiful planet is barred by a tiny piece of stainless steel.
Then, of course, there is the Covid vaccination. We all want to embrace the things that we took for granted less than a year ago but this will only happen if everyone receives it.
So what can be done?
The good news is, we can do something about this!
· Raise awareness. In my experience, people are happy to talk about their phobias but there seems to be a stigma regarding needle phobias. I believe this would be irradiated by raising awareness – by making it OK and acceptable, NOT something to be embarrassed by. Look how powerful the campaign has been to raise awareness of mental health? I think it’s fantastic that now everyone’s so open about their state of mind and feelings.
· Treatment. The other thing that can be done is therapy. I sorted my Nieces’ needle phobia out in under an hour and having an injection is now just a minor inconvenience. The day after helping her she booked a holiday to Vietnam – that’s a lot of injections!