University of Ottawa hosting free group therapy sessions to help residents overcome fears of needles during pandemic
OTTAWA -- Many Canadians have rolled up their sleeve to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but for some the sight of a needle can cause deep anxiety.
"Your fear just holds you back so much," said Kat, who is afraid of needles but overcame her fear to get her shots.
"It’s the anticipation that’s just as scary."
Eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine could soon open to children under 12 and getting a jab into arms may be an issue for some parents—like Ottawa resident Tracy Schulz.
"You show him a needle and he runs in the other direction,” said Schulz.
"I don’t really like needles," said her nine-year-old son, Aiden. "I’m afraid they’re going to hurt.”
It is not just kids dreading the needle, that fear can be found in people of all ages, which could be a contributing factor to the slow down in vaccine numbers.
"It's getting harder and harder to get people vaccinated,” said Andrea Ashbaugh, Director for the Centre for Psychological Services and Research at the University of Ottawa. They will be hosting a free group therapy session in November, part of the latest push to get Ottawa closer to 90 percent of its population fully vaccinated.
"This program is specifically for people who have a fear of needles or a fear of injections that often times these individuals so fearful they avoid getting vaccinated so they haven’t gotten vaccinated for the COVID vaccine,” said Ashbaugh.
Participants will start by looking at pictures of needles, working up to viewing videos before observing the procedure. The sessions are available in French and English, which will be held at the Minto Sports Complex.
"Being in a group with other vulnerable people who are afraid were being broken down the process I think I would have been a lot more comfortable," said Kat, who didn’t have a positive experience when she got her first dose.
Registration is now open for adult sessions and youth sessions for ages 12 to 17. The hope is by the end of the three-hour session, people will feel comfortable enough to get their first dose at the clinic on campus.