I know people who are deeply afraid of snakes or spiders. All the logic in the world does not allay these fears; they are beyond the reach of rationality. The cause of them is not easily found, if ever. I knew a woman panicked at thunderstorms but she credited her childhood feelings as her mother ran around the house closing windows.

A lot of us have that kind of fear of shots or jabs (as the British say) by needles. I have learned to look away when these operations occur. A brave young man I know has to be restrained and held when shots are necessary, a complete departure from his otherwise adventurous and dangerous life.

TV reports on the need for vaccinations usually feature needles being inserted into arms. I guess they are desperate for pictures to accompany the reports on vaccination rates. But it is the worst way to encourage participation. If I were less willing to avoid illness I would never undergo being a pincushion.

Programs to promote any uncomfortable medical treatment with money lotteries seem silly given the odds of winning. Maybe ice cream or other treat could work better. If fear of sickness and spread of the virus are not strong enough incentive to get vaccinated, maybe a beer, cocktail, or steak reward could work.

Picturing something fearful to many is no way to encourage participation.

George Weckman

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