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Photo: Getty Images, additional design by Archi Banal
Photo: Getty Images, additional design by Archi Banal

SocietyJanuary 17, 2022

Scared of needles? This will help

Photo: Getty Images, additional design by Archi Banal
Photo: Getty Images, additional design by Archi Banal

From today, children aged five to 11 can get their Covid-19 vaccine. Emily Writes’ son Eddie, who has multiple injections a day to control his type one diabetes, shares some advice for kids worried about it.

This post was first published on the author’s newsletter, Emily Writes Weekly.

There’s been a bit of talk lately about needle-phobia and the lack of support and resources for people afraid of needles. I thought I’d ask the one kid I know who has to have needles all the time for advice. That kid is: my kid!

There are no photos of needles in this story! Book your vaccination/booster here.

Eddie has had thousands of needles since he was diagnosed with type one diabetes two years ago. He was terrified of needles, but the thing is – when you have to have needles or you’ll die, you just have them.

I remember having to hold Eddie down to give him needles. It was so so awful. So I have a lot of empathy for those who are afraid. Truly, nobody likes needles – so here are some tips straight from my son, in his own words:

The needles used for Eddie’s insulin injections (Photo: Supplied)

I was real scared when I first got diabetes and had to have all these needles. But I had to not be scared because I had to have the needles or else I would die.

So when you get a vaccination you should think about it like that. Like if you don’t get it, you could get sick or you could die or you could get someone else real sick or they could die. Then it doesn’t feel like a choice.

If it’s not a choice and just something you have to do, that helps you think different about it.

Here are my other tips:

  • Don’t think about it too much before you get your injection. Think about something else.
  • It’s not going to kill you, just hurt for a second – not even that.
  • Listen to your favourite song that makes you feel happy or calm.
  • Do something that calms you down, like my brother does counting when he’s upset, so you just count.
  • If you have a phone or if you don’t you can borrow your mum’s phone and watch a funny video.
  • Tell the doctor or nurse that you’re scared and they will be extra nice to you.
  • Relax your whole body – sometimes you want to squeeze your hands. And if I squeeze my body when I have to get my insulin it hurts way more. You have to breathe out when the needle goes in.
  • Be comfortable. I like to lie down instead of stand up when I get insulin. But sometimes I have to stand up and I just lean on my mum or dad. So you could get a cuddle at the same time if you want.
  • Get a lollypop after or some Lego if your parents will get you some.
  • Think about what you can do after your injection. After I have insulin I can have my ice cream or go outside and play. After you get your injection you can go do fun things.
  • Think it’s not actually the end of the world. It’s just an injection. But if you don’t have the vaccine and you get sick that could be the end of the world.
  • Also, at least you only have to have three injections and they’re over a whole year probably but some of us have to have three just in one morning so you should also be a bit braver. But it’s OK if you don’t feel brave. There are lots of ways to feel brave anyway. It’s OK to cry because I sometimes cry when I have to get insulin even though I have had thousands, probably millions, of injections.
  • Take your teddy bear with you and cuddle it while you get your injection. Or if you don’t have a teddy bear just cuddle your mum or your dad.

That’s probably all of my tips. But if you know someone with type one diabetes you could ask them because they have lots of injections so they will have tips too. Not just mine. And it’s OK to feel scared, just don’t let being scared make you not get an injection. Because sometimes we just have to have injections. It’s just called life. Sometimes babies need injections. And they just cry and can’t do anything. Anyway that’s all.

But if you want you can call me* – just ask my mum for her number and I will talk to you while you get your injection.

Just put “From Eddie” now Mum.

From Eddie.


I hope that helped! Good luck with your boosters and getting your kiddies in for vaccinations! Thank you for getting vaccinated. Arohanui, from the Writes whānau.

*Bless him, but no lol.

Have questions about the vaccine or want to book over the phone? Talk to the Covid Vaccination Healthline 8am-8pm, seven days a week. Translation services are available in over 40 languages. Call 0800 28 29 26.

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