People don’t “get over” needle fear
Without FluMist, we need needle-free options
When I lecture on needle fear, someone – a scientist, a doctor, a public health policy guru – inevitably says, “Don’t you think parenting has something to do with it?” The last two decades have seen a 252% rise in the fear of needles. Innovations like FluMist and microneedles promise an eventual decrease in the number of pokes per kid, but the news that FluMist isn’t an option is causing more distress than older people may imagine. Why, do older people wonder, are kids today such wimps? Where’s the grit?
Here’s the data: kids aren’t wimps, they’re conditioned. This graph shows the percent of needle anxiety by year of birth in a number of different studies. Compare it to the blue graph showing the rise in number of needles kids get over the years since 1983. Someone born in 1970 getting only a few vaccines as a kid might not understand why a young parent born in 1990 who got 20 pokes is opting out. The the 46 year old doesn’t remember shots as being so bad… because they weren’t.