Vaccination-The Role Reversal..........by Dr. Harinder Singh Bedi
“ No way – not in a thousand years ! “ – was how my dear nonagenarian mother would react on being asked to get her Covid vaccination. She claimed some half-baked reasons which she had picked up from social media, friends, and family (also known as ‘the experts’) citing a weird fear that the vaccine would convert her DNA !!. She forbade me from taking it also using emotional blackmail – which all mothers are experts at !.
Nobody enjoys having a blood test or an injection, but for some people, the thought of a needle puncturing their skin can send shivers down the spine.
About 10% of the population suffer from trypanophobia - an extreme primal fear of injections. A needle phobia does not have to have had a traumatic needle association, although they often do. When we are highly stressed, we go into survival mode and that means we revert to trying to keep ourselves safe by staying away from the perceived danger - in this case, needles. We have a little filing cabinet in our brain - the hippocampus - and we refer to that for all our behavior patterns.
Suspicion of and myths surrounding vaccines, in general, are also causing social media-driven mistrust about a COVID-19 jab. A new report from King's College London and Ipsos MORI research shows 1 in 3 have been exposed to anti-vax messages, 1 in 7 believe the COVID-19 vaccine's real purpose is to track and control the population and that Bill Gates is implanting us all with microchips, and quite a few think that it can cause autism.
My wife and I are both doctors and knew that all of us needed the vaccine. So slowly with whatever medical evidence was available we convinced the mother to let us get the vaccine also explaining that it is not only to protect a single person but also to bring in herd immunity faster which can help weaken the virus and end the pandemic.
She finally agreed. Her next apprehension was – yes – you guessed it right – what to wear? She has no sleeveless dresses and at present, her tailor is not well. So she hit upon the bright idea of removing the stitches from the inner side of the left arm of her best dress – the sleeve can then be easily lifted above the shoulder. She plans to stitch it back only after the second booster dose after a month. So she went with her daughter-in-law and got her vaccination. “Oh – I didn’t even feel it” – she nonchalantly stated.
Now she is busy exhorting all her friends and relatives to take it. She has even otherwise been active in the Covid period in making free masks for all who need them. Her tailoring tip regarding the sleeve has caught on widely. She is an excellent brand ambassador for the vaccine program. Woe betides the hapless relative who starts giving any excuses. Quite a role reversal!
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