Sam Stokes, a New Zealand-based sales manager, isn't usually an anxious person. But there's one thing that, as he puts it, scared the shit out of him: needles.
His aversion was severe enough to hold him back from getting routine tests. Stokes, now 40, recalls an instance in his 20s when he simply couldn't bring himself to get a blood test. He once even drove to the testing facility to get his blood drawn, but couldn't follow through with it. His partner (now wife) eventually convinced him to get the test, but he remembers it as one of "the most horrific" experiences he's had.
"I kind of passed out a little bit along the way, and was sweaty and clammy and all that sort of stuff," he said. "I just absolutely hated the whole experience."
When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, he knew he couldn't let his needle phobia hold him back. Even watching the news became difficult, as stations regularly ran stories about vaccine developments.
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