Toronto vaccination clinic hopes to allay anxious fears – .

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Toronto vaccination clinic hopes to allay anxious fears – .


TORONTO – As a neuroscientist and molecular biologist, Samantha Yammine has a deep respect for vaccines, but despises needles.

So much so that she was consumed with anxiety for weeks before her first COVID-19 vaccination, dreading not only the sting, but the whole process.

“I had a lot of times where I was a little bit frozen and overwhelmed, and I would start to cry,” Yammine told CTV News Toronto.

“I knew I would do it, but I couldn’t do it alone. “

Yammine has lived with needle phobia since she was young and sought therapy before her appointment for the first dose. She took a test drive at the clinic ahead of time to mentally prepare for the day and managed to get the shot while lying down in a private cabin while using some coping strategies.

“During the vaccination, I had my eyes closed, I had headphones, I was blowing Beyoncé and my partner was with me,” she said. “It was over very quickly, before I even got to my favorite line. “

Sandra Mason, meanwhile, is struggling to convince her adult son, who lives with similar anxiety, to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“He just can’t get past the fact that it’s a needle,” she said. “It’s a real phobia for him.

Mason, however, says she is terrified that he will catch COVID-19 without the protection of the vaccine.

“It’s just life or death, and that scares me. “

On Monday, the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) hosted an immunization clinic for people living with fears or anxieties related to needles or medical settings, designed to make immunization as easy as possible.

“The thought of getting bitten can make people really tense, upset, and they can have physical symptoms like nausea and vomiting,” CAMH psychiatrist Dr. David Gratzer said Monday.

“The problem isn’t what the exact symptoms are, the question is, what can we do? A dedicated clinic that will spend time with people and they can get the jab they want, without, perhaps, the anxiety that is the roadblock.

At the CAMH clinic, needles are stored in a separate room and all medical equipment is hidden. Private booths are available for people to take the photo in a separate area, and trained staff are available to spend as much time as needed answering patient questions.

“Along with having comfort items, things like fuss and distraction, we have clinicians who are willing to just sit down,” said Erin Ledrew, clinic director. “Each table has additional chairs so that if they haven’t brought a loved one with them, they can ask one of the clinicians to sit down with them and have a chat with them. “

The approach is essential, said Dr. Marina Malak, a family doctor in Mississauga, because the decision to get the vaccine can seem like an impossible choice for people with certain anxieties.

“It’s a terrible disease like COVID, or your needle phobia that you’re trying to keep under control,” she said. “This anxiety is amplified. Now you are afraid of catching a deadly virus and you are afraid of getting bitten. “

Yammine, meanwhile, wants other people with similar anxieties to know that supports are available for people who wish to try to get vaccinated. She is now proudly double-dosed.

“I wouldn’t say the second dose was easy,” she said. “But it was easier. ”

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