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Needle fear / prikangst

Posted by jpluimers on 2021/06/15

An interesting Dutch thread on fear of needles and how to cope with it is at [] Jerry Vermanen on Twitter: “Even iets heel anders. Mijn vaccinatieafspraak komt dichterbij. Maar ik ben doodsbang voor naalden. Hoe hebben andere mensen met dezelfde angst dit aangepakt?”

The question came because of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Since I have needle fear and I am autistic, I posted a sub-thread ([] Jeroen Wiert Pluimers on Twitter: “Ik heb mijn “maar je ziet er helemaal niet autistisch uit” T-Shirt aangetrokken (dank @biancatoeps !) … “) with how it works best in my case, which I have translated below just in case it can help other people.

Having gotten my second AstraZeneca shot on Sunday 2021-06-14, and had drawn blood for cardiologist check-up on Monday 2021-06-15 I know these work for me:

I put on my “but you don’t look autistic at all” T-Shirt (thanks [] @biancatoeps !)

In addition, I report it in advance and briefly discuss how it works best for me.

They are very happy with that, by the way.

because many have that fear, but don’t say it (just assume that 1 in 3 people has a fear of injection, I’ll look for a link about that in a moment).

In addition to [] Eveline Meijer on Twitter: “Nog niet gevaccineerd, maar vaak genoeg geprikt en ik ben er ook bang voor. Ik meld dit vaak bij degene die de prik zet en dat ik de naald vooral niet wil zien. Dus andere kant op kijken en proberen rustig te ademen. Dan komt het bij mij meestal wel goed.… “

first what works for me, and what I do:

  1. give a brief explanation of what they are going to do and how
  2. indicate my preferred arm
  3. tell them they should stop talking to me a few seconds before putting the needle in
  4. look away from where they sting, focus on something else so that I focus on breathing
  5. say “yes” if they can start

You’re certainly not alone, and it’s great that you’re talking about it before now. Hopefully these tips will help making it easier for you in the future.

This states that more than 35% has fear plus some tips: [Wayback] Bang voor naalden? Deze app helpt bij prikangst | RTL Nieuws (which mentions the app [Wayback] AINAR – Artificial Intelligence for Needle Anxiety Reduction)

Good luck for when you get vaccinated. I will get the 2nd shot this afternoon and it will be fine (:

Later: Got shot 2 of AstraZeneca. A little light-headed because the anxiety subsides. Waiting for half an hour now as I’m allergic to NSAIDs: just to be on the safe side.


Some interesting bits from the Dutch thread at [Wayback] Thread by @JerryVermanen: Even iets heel anders. Mijn vaccinatieafspraak komt dichterbij. Maar ik ben doodsbang voor naalden. Hoe hebben andere mensen met dezelfde angst dit aangepakt?:

  • [Wayback] AINAR – Artificial Intelligence for Needle Anxiety Reduction

    Welcome to AINAR!

    The AINAR game application makes it possible to learn controlling your needle fear. The AINAR app is making use of state of the art technology in Artificial Intelligence and biofeedback.


  • Tell them, and when getting the shot, look the other way and focus on breathing.
  • Seek distraction: make some small talk, play on your phone.
  • Look forward to the treat you give yourself afterwards: ice cream, LEGO, whatever.
  • Compartmentalise the event slots (before shot, during shot, after shot) and try to put your fears only in the middle slot.
  • Get the single shot Janssen vaccin (only having fear once instead of twice).
  • If the pain triggers your fear, try lidocaine skin cream (consult with your doctor first as it is a anesthetic that causes loss of feeling in the skin and surrounding tissues that prevents pain).
  • Take a support person or support animal with you (first ask if that is allowed).
  • Fear can enhance the pain sense, so if you can lessen the fear, the pain likely lessens too.

Dutch sub-thread: [Wayback] Thread by @jpluimers: @JerryVermanen Ik heb mijn “maar je ziet er helemaal niet autistisch uit” T-Shirt aangetrokken (dank @biancatoeps !)…




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