Neil Martin, Rehabilitation Therapy Services Supervisor at Broadmoor Hospital at West London NHS Trust, talks about his needle phobia and why he changed his mind and had the Covid-19 vaccination:
"From an early age, I’ve always had a massive phobia of needles. My fear has often prevented me from going to the dentist, giving blood and having the flu jab. It has also made parts of my role difficult. I was also apprehensive about having the vaccination because of my doubts about its safety and efficacy, including how quickly it was made available and unknown side effects.
Losing my mum in August 2020 made me change my mind about having the vaccination. After 55 years together, my dad was left alone. I’m the only person in my dad’s support bubble, as most of our family live far away and most of my father’s friends are very elderly and unable to provide physical support due to Covid-19 restrictions. This put a lot of things in perspective for me and I needed to be there for my dad, to offer him physical and emotional support now and in the future. I see my dad every week and I know how important this is to him. I would have felt terrible if I couldn’t have continued to do this by being selfish and only thinking about my fears, rather than what my dad needed. After speaking to my wife one evening, we both came to the conclusion that I needed to do everything I could to ensure that I would be able to continue to support my dad.
For many years, Angela Dolan (Deputy Director – High Secure Services) and I have had a running joke about her one day getting a needle into me. So, it was only fitting that Angela was the one to jab me. I psyched myself up by simply saying to myself that I needed to have the jab to help keep my dad safe and well looked after. With some added encouragement from my wife and my peers, I had the vaccination and it was over in seconds.
I felt a bit ropey the morning after my first jab, but after taking some paracetamol, I was able to continue with my day with no problems. After my second jab, the only side effect I had was a sore arm.
I had the vaccination because it was important for the people around me. My own fears became irrelevant once I realised what was truly important.
I would urge others who may be scared to have the vaccination: it’s over in seconds and you know you’ve done your part to protect everyone.”
For more about Covid-19 vaccinations, visit the NHS.uk website.