'My worst nightmare' - fears needle phobia will stop people getting Covid vaccine

Watch Ben McGrail's report

A woman from Bridgwater has described getting the Covid-19 vaccination as her 'worst nightmare', because she has a fear of needles.

Phoebe Husain says she wants to receive the vaccine but is among an estimated 3-10% of the population who has a phobia of jabs. There are fears that many people will not come forward to receive the protection because of their mental health.

The charity Anxiety UK says the phobia is 'extremely common yet not very well recognised'.

Despite having piercings when she was younger, Phoebe said her fear of jabs has gradually got worse as she’s got older - to the point she refused to receive important blood thinning injections after becoming a mum last year.

She said: "I would compare it to someone who has a phobia of heights. If they need to do a bungee jump you’re not going to say to them ‘stop being ridiculous, go and do it’ - you know that’s their worst nightmare. They’re not just going to jump off and go ‘ok I’ll go do it’.

"Even though it’s something someone might not even care about, they can just talk whilst it’s being done, that’s my worst nightmare. Comparing it to a different fear helps people to understand the phobia."

Phoebe says she wants to receive the Covid-19 vaccination but her phobia makes it impossible Credit: ITV News West Country

Phoebe says she definitely wants to receive the Covid-19 vaccine: "Oh yeah, 100%. I think especially now I’ve had a child of my own you want yourself to be protected because if I’m not here you think who’s going to look after them.

"When you’ve got family to think about it’s not just you who would suffer."

Dave Smithson, operations director at Anxiety UK, says that it's important people seek help to enable them to receive the protection.

He said: "For many they’ll know about it, they’ll have lived with it for many years and they’ll know how to manage it and to cope with it.

"For others it might be a huge challenge and a big challenge for them to go out and get that vaccination done.

"They’ll need to plan and prepare for it and, in some cases, they may need some professional help."

You can find out more about needle phobia on the Anxiety UK website.

The NHS in Somerset has support available for people who have a phobia of vaccinations Credit: ITV News West Country

The NHS in Somerset is worried some people might not come forward for a vaccine. It is keen to highlight the support on offer.

Paul Kennedy from the Talking Therapies service in the county said: "What we’re trying to do is to try and promote our service to help patients get over this fear of needles through exposure-based therapy, which is what we’ve always done - this isn’t new.

"It’s often described as a phobia and we treat phobias within Somerset Talking Therapies service."

Therapist Martin Gibson has provided Phoebe with some support for her phobia of needles Credit: Martin Gibson

Since speaking to ITV News, Phoebe received treatment from Somerset therapist Martin Gibson.

It is hoped she may now be able to have the vaccine and that many others who have a fear of needles will follow her lead by seeking out help.