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Travel vaccinations and my fear of needles


Travelling wide and far has often the power to bring sides of yourself to light you were not necessarily aware of before. For me I had such experience the other day before even starting my trip. In the spirit of getting ready for my voyage to China in a few weeks time I had to go and get a shot.

While the nurse had suggested for me to get the shot only two weeks before my planned departure I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible and scheduled it for the following week. My mother had always warned me to never get a shot when not 100% healthy, so in that spirit I was super careful from the moment I made the appointment on to stay extra warm and eat especially healthy. Yet, two days before the scheduled appointment I started feeling dizzy and funny in the stomach. May I have caught a bug anyway despite my precautions?

I felt somewhat guilty on my way to to the doctors being sure the nurse would re-schedule the vaccination if I told her how I felt. “Don´t you worry”, she just said, however, “this shot does not have any active components, so there is no danger of you getting sick.”

She must have seen the colour vanquish from my face as she just smiled and patted my arm: “This is really just a baby-needle, there is really nothing to worry about”. I had never felt this awkward in my life before, realising that she had figured me out before I did.

“Funny that you are still afraid of needles considering how many vaccinations you already had in your life,” she said my international vaccination pass at hand. “You should know that this is much less painful than getting any of these deseases we´ll vaccinate you today against”.

Of course I knew, which is why I was there, but it still did not make me feel any better. Also, while I had never been a fan of needles, I had never felt this bad about them before either. I hesitated. Since when was I afraid of needles?

It had to be done. I closed my eyes and held my breath, while the nurse injected the vaccination into my left arm. It really was less painful than any other shot I had ever gotten let a alone the time at the blood draw.

My arm still felt weird for the next couple of days and hurt when I lay on it, but ultimately nothing really happened. My learning journey, however, had just began. I cannot wait what else I may learn about myself and others once the trip has actually started.

Have you had any similar revelations before? Tell me about them!

 Photo Credit: European Commission DG ECHO via


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