Fear of needles is stopping young Dutchies from getting vaccinated

One in five young people in the Netherlands doesn’t want to get vaccinated against the coronavirus because of needlestick anxiety. 

This number is worrisome — especially as secondary schools and higher education are reopening, while the number of coronavirus infections is rising.  

Needlestick anxiety

The GGDs estimate that about 20% of adults have a fear of needles. This percentage is even higher among young people, reports AD.

“We know that young people are extra sensitive to fainting,” says Laetitia Gruwel, a spokesperson for the GGDs umbrella organisation GGD GHOR. 

She goes on to explain that “people who are tall and slim are more likely to faint. That also applies to adolescents who are going through a growth spurt.” 

An unpleasant experience with fainting in the past, as well as fear of losing control, can also contribute to needlestick anxiety. 

Vaccination among young people lagging behind

According to GGD GHOR’s estimates, about one in five people with a serious fear of needles don’t get vaccinated. 

This means that out of the approximately 1.1 million teenagers in the Netherlands who have now been invited to get a shot, 220,000 would refuse the vaccine. 

Extra measures to overcome fear of needles

Aware of the challenges that this poses, the Dutch GGDs are taking extra measures to help people overcome the fear of needles.

Vaccination centres in Utrecht and Arnhem have set up special injection anxiety consultation hours. Other locations have opted for short information films. 

The GGDs also advise people with a fear of needles to report this upon arrival in the vaccination centre. “Then we can ensure that you don’t have to stand in line and that you can be jabbed while lying in a quiet room.”

Have you experienced needle anxiety? What are your thoughts on GGDs’ efforts to help people overcome this? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Milkos/Depositphotos

Jana Vondráčková 🇨🇿
Jana Vondráčková 🇨🇿
Originally from the Czech Republic, Jana moved to the Netherlands for her studies. She fell in love with the local biking culture, and you’ll see her drifting through the streets of Rotterdam on her pink bike even in the worst possible weather (think rain, snow, hail, or all three). Besides advocating for Rotterdam as the best Dutch city, she likes to wander around with a camera in her hand.


  1. I am so suprised that this topic is finally come to surface. I myself have an extreme anxiety (because of the traumas in the past) and couldn’t get vaccinated. Since I am an expat in the NL, I feel more anxious and disappointed because people think I don’t get vaccinated because I am an anti-vaxx and I don’t deserve to get treatment if I get covid. I am bullied because of this. I hope they find a solution to this 🙁

  2. Of course there are special cases ,based on svere traumas ,and we have to understand this. But 20 %? This is based on a (too) liberal education .We were taught : what has to be done,has to be done and a child has to learn that fears have to be overcome and not given into…..


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