Health and Wellness

Trypanophobia in the time of COVID 19

CEBU CITY, Philippines — “Mahadlok gyud ko ug dagom.”

These were the words uttered by Frank (not his real name) as he shares his fear of needles which is his main reason why he does not want to get vaccinated.

Frank, who requested anonymity, is among the few people who have Trypanophobia, or the abnormal fear of needles.

Trypanophobia is an extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles as stated by the American Institute of Health Care and Science (AIHCA).

READ the study here:

This phobia is common among children since they are unused to the sensation of their skin being pricked by a sharp object. But for some, the fear of needles stays with them into adulthood.

Most of the time, this fear can be extremely intense.

“Its either mangluspad ko or ma kuyapan ko, same sa nahitabo sa office before pag Annual Physical Exam (APE) na nakuyapan ko…” said Frank who also cited personal doubts as among his main concerns why he does not want to get a covid jab.

Frank recalls that his fear of needles started when he was young when he accidentally sew his left pinky finger after playing with a sewing machine.

Although the precise causes of trypanophobia are unknown, AIHCA said that one suspected culprit is past traumatic experiences, including bad episodes with needles at a young age.

A 2018 study by the University of Michigan said that a majority of children, as well as 20-50 percent of adolescents and 20-30 percent of young adults, exhibit fear of needles.

And 2 out of 10 persons in the US do not want to get vaccinated due to their fear of needles.

Trypanophobia in the Age of COVID

According to Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of DOH-7, people with Trypanophobia is not a rarity even before the government’s campaign against Covid-19.

“There are people who are afraid of needles gyud, na mang luspad sila or worst mo faint,” Loreche said.

“But what we do is that nurses and medical professionals who will administer the vaccine will try to pacify the patients because it is part of our job,” Loreche said.

While a chunk may compose those who exhibit the phobia, Loreche is positive that this group, who does not want to get vaccinated out of fear of needles, will not affect their campaign towards achieving herd immunity.

Herd immunity, also known as population immunity, is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through the previous infection.

“When we talk about this phobia, let’s say one in a thousand, they are just a small percent of those who wanted to get vaccinated…,” said Loreche.

Although others may have health reasons or comorbidities which disqualify them from the vaccination program, Loreche considers this as a challenge for them to further educate the public about the Covid-19 vaccines.

“What we will try to do is to educate the public lang gyud, and try to calm them down inig vaccine na nila,” Loreche said.

“It is part of our job to educate and calm our patients during the vaccination,” she added  /rcg

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