Fear of needles among concerns for people hesitant of COVID-19 vaccine


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines is a fragile, uphill battle. Vaccine hesitancy is going down but doctors still have a lot of work to do to get enough people on board.

Part of the trouble is helping patients to decipher what’s true or false about the vaccines.

“You read stuff, you see stuff on TV, on Facebook. There’s so much misinformation out there, that we always follow the negative side, not the positive,” said Joseph Davis. He was initially hesitant but chose to follow the science.

“If you got that shot in your body, tha’ts a chance that you won’t be in the hospital on a ventilator you’ll be home with your kids,” he said.

Lois Rapanotti was hesitant as well. “It’s a new shot, so I’m like okay, what’s in it? Are you giving us the virus? Are you not?”

She changed her mind to visit her mom and to go on a cruise.

“I want to go to New Jersey to see my mother. She’s 88-years-old so you have to have your COVID card,” she said.

Dr. Brian Klausner, a primary care physician at WakeMed, often hears medical concerns regarding the vaccines from his own patients.

“It’s important to have an honest conversation and not oversell this and luckily, the data and the experience around these vaccines, it kind of sells itself,” he said.

He says while some are concerned about side effects, how new the vaccine is, or its safety, some patients are just scared of needles. A study out of the University of Michigan said up to 30 percent of young adults have a fear of needles. The same study adds this fear kept many of them from getting a flu shot.

“Some people have a pathologic, legitimate fear but that’s easy enough to workaround. We use small needles, we go quick and most of the time it’s relatively painless,” Klausner said.

CBS 17 asked if there would be people who are never convinced and if that population of people would be too big to reach herd immunity.

“It’s too early to say. Yes, I think there’s always going to be a small segment that we’ll never be able to convince,” Klausner said.

He doesn’t think that will stop us from reaching herd immunity. To make sure we get there, he says primary care physicians play an important role.

“These are relationships that are based on a history of familiarity and trust and relationships that we leverage into conversations,” Klausner said. He added that patient’s concerns need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Even more important in swaying people – he says could be the voice of your friends or neighbors.

Where to get a COVID-19 vaccine in NC?

Duke Health has a new vaccine appointment system allowing people to choose locations that have Pfizer and Moderna. You will need to answer a series of short screener questions, click here to find an appointment.

Cape Fear Valley offers vaccine clinics on a walk-in and appointment basis depending on the day and location. Click here to find an appointment with them.

Cumberland County offers appointments at the Crown Expo Center. Click here for that.

Wake County offers vaccines by appointment only. Click here for an appointment with them.

UNC Health offers vaccines by appointment. You will need to answer a series of short screener questions, click here to get started.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has a vaccine locator to help you find a vaccine from a number of providers. Click here to navigate the map.

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