• Liam Tracey

The vaccine rollout

The novel coronavirus pandemic is believed to be coming to an end, with the approval of a few vaccines for public use in some countries, including the US and the UK. Vaccinations have begun in a number of countries around the world and is soon to commence in many others, with healthcare workers and caregivers receiving the first shots of COVID-19 vaccine in many countries. While people have been waiting for a vaccine so that we can go back to ‘normal life’ as they knew it, surveys now suggest that many people, all around the world, are apprehensive about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Whether it’s the myths that now surround them, or more significantly, a fear of needles, we don’t want that to stand in the way of our health.


Over the last few months of 2020, countries were approving three main vaccines for use in a mass inoculation programme. AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Modern are similar in their application - 2 injections to receive the full vaccine. For those with trypanophobia, or a fear of needles, that might be quite the barrier. With a fear of needles triggered by many different aspects of the vaccine process, such as the sight of a needle, the sensation of it piercing the skin, or even the waiting time and discussion beforehand, they can lead to significant anxiety-driven behaviours and reactions.


The United Kingdom’s rollout programme most recently reported that it had met 6% of the population since it began. An impressive statistic which provides hope for many countries, some of who are yet to begin the rollout. Some are preparing heavily with public service announcements and education programmes to inform citizens about the process of being vaccinated. This is a critical move to support those who may have a phobia of needles. Seeking out such information should be straightforward, and checking in with your GP to assist you in the process may be the best strategy for managing the fear.

With the vaccine being delivered through an injection, it poses a challenge for those with trypanophobia. oVRcome are continuing to develop their programme which utilises exposure therapy using virtual reality technology to support individuals with phobias. Why not take our Fear of Needles test and receive a free customised report with some actionable tips for your severity level?

While the vaccines may take a while to reach the general public, misconceptions and myths circulating around can convince you to not get a COVID-19 vaccine. Unfortunately, when it comes to those myths, they are also doing more harm for those with anxiety around health and a fear of needles. They serve to compound the issues that individuals experience and without being challenged, will hamper any country’s efforts to effectively roll out a mass vaccination programme. So here are five of them, busted.


  1. Covid vaccines are unsafe because they have been fast-tracked into production - safe Covid vaccines have been produced quickly because of a global effort among experts. They have all focused on a single task and built on lessons learnt from recent outbreaks of Ebola and Zika viruses.

  2. Natural immunity is healthier and more effective than vaccine-induced immunity - vaccines allow you to build immunity without the damaging effects that vaccine-preventable diseases can have.

  3. Vaccines can make you sick - some people can experience mild side effects from some vaccines, such as soreness at the injection site or a low-grade fever, but they dissipate quickly. According to WHO, serious side effects from vaccines rarely occur.

  4. You can get COVID-19 from the vaccine - Not true. This isn‘t possible because the vaccines do not include live COVID-19 virus. Despite the different types of vaccine available, they all work by training our immune system to recognise the COVID-19 virus and fight it.

  5. The vaccines are pointless unless everyone takes them - if you are vaccinated you will be protected regardless of who else is vaccinated. But the more people who are vaccinated the better because this will protect babies and other vulnerable groups who can’t be vaccinated themselves.

Keen to learn more about how the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccinations might affect someone with trypanophobia? Why not check out Life with Needle Phobia from the oVRcome blog, posted up last year?

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