Many people refuse to get vaccinated because they have a phobia of needles or have had a traumatic experience. This is particularly the case of Josée, who deplores that she is associated with conspirators and anti-vaccines.
“I would like to be part of the [vaccinated] population too,” said Josée – whose first name has been changed to preserve her anonymity – in an interview on QUB radio.
At the microphone of Geneviève Pettersen, she said she had a phobia of drugs and needles since she had, several years ago, “a bad reaction to a drug”.
“I haven't I've never been able to take medicine again, whether it's Tylenol, whether it's antibiotics, I can't, ”she explained, admitting not having left her home since March 11, 2020.
“Even for the vaccine, I try to tell myself: 'Go ahead, you can do it', but when I come to do it, I block it. It circulates in my head, I say to myself: “I'm going to have this in my body and, suddenly, I have a reaction, I won't be able to do anything to stop it.” I'm so scared.”
What Josée deplores is that unvaccinated people are automatically associated with “conspirators and antivax”.
“It hurts me [what the government says] I respect the instructions more than many people […] I am not uneducated, I worked 35 years in the public service. I am a cultured person, I read, I get information […] but it's stronger than me, I tell myself that, if there is [a risk of] one person in 1000, that's fine being me. I can't get it out of my head, it's uncontrollable and totally irrational.”
Confronting and overcoming your phobia
Belonephobia, or the phobia of needles, is one of the most common phobias, said Dr. Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier, psychologist and associate professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
For her , Josée's testimony perfectly illustrates “the intensity of fear” which goes so far as to “affect behavior over a prolonged period”.
“Avoiding the object of our fear reinforces it, explained Dr. Beaulieu-Pelletier. By avoiding the object of my fear, I prevent myself from regulating the anxiety that it will activate in me.”
She believes that, on the contrary, by facing the object of the fear, “we gradually learn to tolerate the anxiety that is felt”.