Amarillo pediatricians give advice to those who avoid getting vaccinated due to needlephobia

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 6:37 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Latest data from the Mayo Clinic shows that only 28.4 percent of children ages 5 to 11 have had at least one shot for the COVID-19 vaccine.

For children ages 12 to 17 its 65.3 percent.

Fear of a needle is a reason for some who are not getting vaccinated.

“I get real nervous, and I know it’s going to help me, but I’m like no I don’t want the shot,” said a teenager we spoke with.

The teenager says when she has to take a shot she has to close her eyes to alleviate the pain, and she’s not alone in this experience.

“I don’t know, I just don’t like them. I just don’t like needles,” said the teenager.

More research from the U.S. National Library of Medicine shows about 50 percent of children exhibit needle fear.

CDC studies show nearly a quarter of adults share a strong fear as well, and one in 10 may be delaying getting vaccinated due to this personal dilemma.

“You can see things like evasive angle responses where their heart rate goes down, their blood pressure goes down, they can pass out.” said Anders Leverton, pediatrician and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. “Some kids even I had one not too long ago, 11 years old, was very combative.”

Leverton says classical conditioning is the main reason children dislike needles and shots since it’s one of the first painful experiences people have as infants.

To ease the anxiety and fear some may have with getting vaccinated, Leverton says it’s important to give people choices.

“For example, you can ask the kid we can count down 1, 2, and on 3, we go,” said Leverton. “Give them the option to watch, some kids like to watch you give it, and some kids don’t want to see it, and that’s okay.”

Other examples parents can use is distracting the children with toys or games.

Parents can also speak positively to the children to put them at ease.

The one thing Leverton doesn’t recommend is to hold children down since it will make the experience worse.

Copyright 2022 KFDA. All rights reserved.