You're tough. Tougher than tough. You're Made of Iron! What's more, nothing, and we mean nothing can surprise you or unsettle your Stoic countenance. Except for injections, that is. Those make you scream like a little girl and hide behind your love interest. Trypanophobia, the fear of injections and hypodermic needles, is a recognized disorder in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the psychiatrist's bible) which is estimated to afflict up to 10% of adults.
For some reason, the Fatal Flaw of many a hero is fear of hypodermic needles and antiseptics. Not knives, not absurdly large guns, not even snakes! There's just something deliciously ironic about a Big Damn Hero who routinely gets cut up with huge knives, beat to within an inch of their life and without giving up, becoming squirmy and panicky when their Love Interest comes over with a simple syringe and sanitary cotton to clean their wounds. It seems most any non-battle pain can cripple this person. It's certainly a "clever" way to make a Badass Longcoat less OP and is a very humanizing flaw to have. In extreme cases, expect fainting — even if the needle isn't going into him!
Even the Fearless Fool can fear needles.
This can help make the pain of the fight more recognizable. Few viewers will have been riddled with bullets or been hit by a speeding motorcycle, but most will have had antiseptic rubbed on a wound or a bandage removed, and know how much that hurt.
This is a common enough fear among many people and a particularly fun example of Truth in Television. It may be related to the fact that while combat injuries and the resulting pain are usually suppressed by adrenaline, the pain that comes along with tearing off bandages or putting peroxide into wounds is not. There is also how things like papercuts or anything involving feet injury can be more painful than an injection, but regularly won't make people flinch due to being unexpected, unlike being injected where people expect it.
Mind you, this isn't always played for comedy. Someone who's had bad experiences with needles, such as someone who suffered horribly at the hands of people Playing with Syringes, is likely to have very understandable reasons for wigging out when one is in their presence, especially in a medical or scientific setting. Naturally, if you're a balloon, needles can be downright fatal!
A subset of Fatal Flaw, and often portrayed as an Absurd Phobia or Ironic Fear. See also Afraid of Doctors and Foul Medicine. Can be the driving force of an Injection Plot, especially if the Giant Medical Syringe is involved. Science Fiction often deals with this fear by switching to Futuristic Jet Injectors. A young character might have to face this trope during the Ear-Piercing Plot.
- Berserk: Guts. A guy who's Covered with Scars, Made of Iron, and whose ultimate attack is flinging himself into a horde of barbaric and often demonic enemies with his BFS and raw, Unstoppable Rage (and he has this pesky scar that burns whenever a demon approaches him) no matter what they throw at him (be it stingers, arrows, horns, rock-like appendages, fire, lightning, or entire TREES why don't you) HATES getting sewn up with needles after the fact. And he'll cry and whine all the way through. Bear in mind, this man amputated his own arm with a broken sword.
- In the first episode of City Hunter, Ryo Saiba is confronted by a bad guy who responds to his gun by pointing out the crowded street through the window behind him, saying the gun's too powerful and if Ryo shoots him he'll also hit someone in the crowd. Ryo fires, and when the falling bad guy reveals an undamaged window, Ryo casually explains that he slowed the bullet by shooting through his own hand. He casually walks out of the restaurant and after a brief shot of him grasping his wounded hand and screaming, there's a cut to him sobbing like a baby while his partner is disinfecting and bandaging his hand up.
- A creepy example is Mad Pierrot from the Cowboy Bebop episode "Perrot le Fou", an insanely violent assassin who is impervious to guns — and yet, when he gets hit with a small knife, he starts bawling his eyes out. The stab is bad enough to fully justify his collapsing and screaming; flailing around and calling for mommy, not so much. This event reveals his true nature — his suit deflects bullets flying at him before they can even touch him, which probably means he doesn't feel any pain from them at all. The knife actually penetrates the force field, which means it really does hurt and is possibly the first instance of pain he's felt since his "conditioning" — more a fear of pain than a fear of needles.
- Dragon Ball Z: Only in the anime, Goku (a guy who has literally been through Heaven and Hell and fought titans capable of laying waste to planets and come out victorious) is screaming in fear when the doctor is giving him a shot while in the hospital. The second time he goes into a panic when he sees a syringe among a pile of medical equipment, much to the embarrassment of his son Gohan and his friend Krillin, and the annoyance of Vegeta. This happens three more times in Dragon Ball GT. At one point, he even refuses to enter a hospital, saying he doesn't want to get a shot, while his annoyed friends try to point out they are visiting an injured boy and Goku isn't the patient.
- Excel from Excel♡Saga is mortally afraid of needles in the manga due to some forgotten trauma. She manages to take an anesthetic needle while visiting a dentist though since she considered it a lesser evil compared to the drill.
- Edward Elric in the 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist acts like an adult, but betrays his young age when he has to be restrained to have an injection. This is the child, who, after performing an unholy ritual and losing a limb, does it again, even offering his heart to bring back his brother... Then, when being fitted for automail to replace the arm and leg and having things connected to his nerves, didn't cry once. Mustang commented he had seen grown men break down crying from this process.
- In Futari wa Pretty Cure episode 9, Mepple freaks out when hearing he needs a shot to recover from his illness, and tries to hide under the blanket. He ends up taking the needle in the ass.
- "Normal" example: Eriko from High School Girls is deathly afraid of injections as shown in Episode 2. It’s normal as in, she’s a completely normal human girl. Then again, she’s also a high-schooler, so her panicking is still a bit overwrought.
- Possibly Keiichi from Higurashi: When They Cry. When he's hallucinating from Hinamizawa syndrome he thinks there's needles in the ohagi and that a marker as an injection needle. Hinamizawa syndrome makes you hallucinate some of the things you're most afraid of. So it would make sense. It's actually explained that when he was younger, Keiichi saw a movie where a guy was killed when he swallowed needles that had been hidden in his food. The scene freaked him out to the point he's since had an irrational fear of finding needles in his food.
- Jonah from Jormungand is a hardened Child Soldier that hardly loses his composure during a firefight... but he's no fan of needles, as he explicitly states at the end of the African Golden Butterflies arc. Cue the mass Face Fault from the rest of the group.
Everyone: Scared of needles? What are you, a kid?
(Jonah turns to them)
Everyone: Oh yeah. You are a kid.
- Ryuko Matoi from Kill la Kill is a Made of Iron veteran and has lived through countless crippling injuries of all shapes and sizes, having been beaten, cut up, shot at, and more. When Aikuro sticks a needle in her arm to draw blood, however, she freaks out and has to puff out her cheeks to keep from screaming in pain. However, she gets over it as the series goes on, as activating Senketsu requires her to have a needle shoved into her wrist. Given that her past involved grotesque experimentation at the hands of her own mother when she was just a baby, this fear was quite justified.
- Doctor Yabui of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! has such a large fear of needles that he will faint upon seeing one. Yes, the doctor is afraid of needles.
- Jigen of Lupin III isn't afraid of getting a shot, but he hates going to the dentist. Given that he's once been attacked by a venomous snake, and also had a car crash into the dentist's room with him, it may be justified.
- Chisato from Lycoris Recoil is terrified of needles, to the point she regularly puts off going to the doctor for checkups. Takina is in disbelief when she learns that someone that regularly dodges bullets in life-or-death battles could have such a fear, but Chisato points out that one, getting a shot hurts, and two, if she dodges the needle the visit is pointless.
- Nico from Nanbaka is afraid of shots, to the point that he breaks out of jail in order to avoid medical injections.
- Justified in Negima! Magister Negi Magi, where several characters are utterly terrified of a hypodermic needle containing a powerup drug... because the point of the needle in question is 1.8 centimeters across and is delivered in the butt. Most of them will probably fit this trope quite comfortably for the rest of their lives after that one.
- In Otaku Elf, the titular elf is terrified of needles and when she gets an elf cold and needs a shot, she tries to curse the doctor who gives her the shot, despite the fact that she has no magical abilities. Upon this being pointed out, she instead threatens to review bomb her clinic.
- The Quintessential Quintuplets: Bring Nino and Istuki for vaccinations, and they'll run off. The former also begs Fuutarou to help pierce her ears because she's too nervous to do it herself.
- Ranma ˝: In one episode, Ranma crash-lands in front of the Cat Café after another trip to sub-orbit, and a kindly wandering salesman, who had originally intended to sell to the Amazons (currently out on business) tends to his scrapes with disinfectant. This leads to the Made of Iron martial artist hissing and wincing in pain. Somewhat disconcerting, given the sort of abuse Ranma has stoically endured in the series — and while he has complained at medical treatment before, that's been due to the treatment itself being painful (Tōfū brutally snapping Ranma's joints back into place and proper rotation, being burned with the counter-moxibustion, etc.).
- In The Red Ranger Becomes an Adventurer in Another World, Tougo will face down any monster or threat with gusto to protect the weak and helpless. He doesn't fear death and won't hesitate to make a Heroic Sacrifice if it means his friends make it out alive. But he hates needles so much that he'd rather use his Transformation Sequence to make the guild explode than take an injection.
Tougo: [uncharacteristically meek] Please... anything but needles...
Idola: You're kidding, right? What happened to that chivalry you showed when you were protecting me?
Touga: I'm prepared for any injuries during a battle, but injections are different!
- The Rose of Versailles: Oscar — a woman who regularly gets into bar fights, duels, etc., and who towards the end happily storms the Bastille whilst suffering from terminal tuberculosis — bursts into floods of tears after scratching her hand on a broken violin string.
- Mamoru of Sailor Moon comments on this jokingly to Ami, one of the few personal quirks we ever learn about him.
- Yumemitchi of Tamagotchi is scared of needles and, to get herself to tear up for her acting class at Dream School in Episode 9 of Yume Kira Dream, imagines a past experience she had with getting a shot. It doesn't work.
- Transformers: Cybertron: Done with Humongous Mecha, no less, with the Handwave-by-Technobabble version of a needle. The team dreaded the idea of injection, especially Leobreaker. He's not the worst, though: Red Alert has to chase Jetfire down.
- The Hot-Blooded Kid Hero Jin from Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh is turned to a screaming freak at the sight of needles. This fear even incapacitated him for a while in a mecha battle when he was made to face a syringe-themed Monster of the Week.
- In one sketch, Bill Engvall recounts the time he went in for an acupuncture session to see if it would help him stop smoking. His first question to the acupuncturist was "Will it hurt?" Just as she tells him no, he hears a man in another room yelling in pain, and she says of the other man, "Oh, he big baby!" His response? "I'm a big baby!" Turns out he had reason to be afraid, as the acupuncturist accidentally left a needle in his head, which he didn't notice until he tried to take his hat off later in the day. On the flip side, the acupuncture worked.
- John Mulaney tells a story about a nurse who assured him he wouldn't faint during a blood test.
Mulaney: "Pssssh, you're not gonna faint." So I stick my arm out, [he] puts the needle in, and I immediately collapse on the ground.
- Beast Boy from the Doom Patrol and later Teen Titans has this problem. Thankfully, his powers give him universal immunity, but that doesn't stop the writers from forcing him to take shots anyway.
- Lanfeust: Hebus is a nine-foot-tall troll. He gets pierced by arrows, sliced by swords and axes, and burned by magic nearly on a daily basis. He has such a fear of needles that his reaction when faced with a deadly illness was to take a butcher knife, cut his leg, and say "It has to go in the blood, right? Then pour it there, that's better!"
- Mr Kiasu: Kiasu's boss, Saboh Singh, is an almost fearless man even during his Reservist NS training exercises. He has only one Fatal Flaw — the fear of needles.
- Max, the psychotic rabbit of Sam & Max: Freelance Police fame, passes out at the sight of a needle. At least according to a single 1994 strip in a series that has Negative Continuity up the wazoo.
- Kon-El (of Superboy Volume 4, Young Justice, Superboy and the Ravers, Superboy Volume 5 & Teen Titans) gets freaked out by needles mostly because waking up with an IV in him means his invulnerability wasn't working, and any kind of biopsy or other needle insertion means he has to drop his invulnerability. He doesn't like feeling weak and it doesn't help that he doesn't trust most scientists due to the ones who created him trying to kidnap him and modify him to be easier to control.
- Marvel's Luke Cage has this fear, despite having nearly unbreakable skin.
- Megatron of all people in The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye. When he's on trial and Chromedome is going to perform mnemosurgery on him to see if his Heel–Face Turn is legit or not, Megatron freaks the hell out and refuses to allow Chromedome near him with the needles. It keeps things ambiguous as to whether or not he's being genuine, but in a later unrelated incident, Megatron cringes and looks away when Chromedome prepares to do it again on something else, suggesting it's genuine. Then a later issue's flashbacks reveal that in his youth, Megatron was captured and nearly put under forced mnemosurgery by the sadistic scientist Trepan to effectively lobotomize him to stymie his political writings that were inspiring too much resentment against the Senate, and the incident genuinely traumatized Megatron.
- Discussed in a 91:an Karlsson strip by Nils Egerbrandt. During a mock battle, 91 is ordered to pick up a weapon and fight, but he is reluctant to do so. In the end, he decides to pick a syringe filled with a yellow liquid as his weapon, reasoning that "This way, both friend and foe will be scared of me!"
- Parodied in Calvin and Hobbes. The doctor gets out various non-needle instruments (stethoscope, tongue depressor, etc.), with Calvin frantically yelling, "What is that?! Will it hurt?!" and the doctor saying no. Then the doctor gets out the device for looking into people's ears, Calvin says it again, and the doctor snarks:
Doctor: It's a cattle prod. It hurts a little less than a branding iron. [Calvin faints.] Little kids have no sense of humor.
- Roger from FoxTrot is afraid of needles, which is why the family was surprised when he donated blood after 9/11.
- Used as the punch line in one strip of Funky Winkerbean. The high school is doing vaccinations. A student with tons of tattoos and piercings faints at the sight of a needle, and the improbability of this is lampshaded by the nurse.
- Garfield has a Sunday strip where Garfield and Odie are at the vet to get shots. Garfield exaggerates the details, saying that the needles are massive, sharp, and terrifying, making Odie nervous. When his is done, it's Garfield's turn. The needle Liz carries under her arm for Garfield is massive, sharp, and terrifying.
Garfield: [completely deadpan look on his face] Inside, I'm screaming.
- Linus is not only afraid of getting shots, he's scared when he has to get a sliver taken out of his finger with a needle or tweezers. (For the latter, Charlie Brown gave some advice, telling him to pretend he was being tortured by pirates who wanted him to tell them where the gold was buried. After having his mother remove the sliver — indicated by an off-panel scream from Linus — he came back and said, "I told them where the gold was buried!")
- In one arc, Lucy and Peppermint Patty wanted to get their ears pierced, and Marcie was a big help, telling them about all the dangers of getting that done by an unskilled amateur; Patty almost freaked when Marcie mentioned a penicillin shot. Eventually, they decided to go the safe route and have a doctor do it, but Lucy chickened out and ran after hearing Patty overreact to it.
- One strip shows the entire cast of the strip trying to pry Snoopy off of a tree, with Snoopy pleading, "I don't want another rabies shot!" (Fortunately, he got it.)
- In Face The Vax Everest is scared of needles and constantly resists getting a shot.
- In Mega Man Reawakened, Needle Man is afraid of needles.
- In Street Sharks Redux, it's mentioned that Bobby hates getting shots. Given that this is around when he and his brothers remember being Strapped to an Operating Table and gene slammed, this does not make for good times.
- In the Pokémon fanfic Silver Blood, Aura isn't exactly happy when she's made to get vaccines. Considering the implications of her past, it's understandable.
- In Raven Child's The Smurfette Village series, Hefty's Distaff Counterpart Toughette has a fear of needles and needs to be held down in order for somebody to inject her with one.
- This is a fairly common Fanon fear to give Ferb Fletcher. There's rarely a reason given for why he hates them and it's led to some funny circumstances, like Vanessa taking care of him when the flu he got because he didn't get a flu shot makes him delirious.
- Several NUMB3RS fanfics depict Don being uneasy around needles.
- Naru-Hina Chronicles: Naruto once told to Hinata a story about how afraid he was of a needle as long as his arm.
- At the end of the Chunin Exam, after defeating some bad guy, Naruto is told by Mina that he will have to get a shot to stop any infection from the wounds he had during the fight. This makes him panic upon realizing it will be done with a needle.
- After his fight against Hiashi, Sakura tells Naruto, while healing his arms, that he will have to go to the hospital and get a check-up in case of any infections. Naruto realizes that means he will likely get a shot and frowns while telling Sakura to forget it.
- Kiba from the Naruto fanfiction Ninja of Santoryu is absolutely terrified of pretty much anything sharp after his disastrous loss against Naruto
- In Riding a Sunset, Bumblebee explains to Charlie that, while Cybertronians don't get shots like humans, they still need to have anti-virus software uploaded every now and then, which is implied to be slightly painful. Poor Brawn is shown to be terrified of this procedure, as when Ratchet tries to give it to him he runs out of the med bay at top speed and climbs their guard tower. It takes several 'bots (including Prime) to get him down.
- In How Do I Admit I'm Falling Apart, Sonic is terrified the first time he gets a shot of testosterone.
- Ashley/Cuddlebug from Snuggles the Symbiote is terrified of needles to the point of physically jumping away at the sight of one after spending a year being harvested for Mutant Growth Hormone. A time traveler from six years in the future reveals that she never really gets over it.
- Lana Loud from The Loud House is often imagined as being afraid of getting shots in fanfiction:
- This Osomatsu-san fancomic has Ichimastu being fearful of getting a shot.
- In X-Men fanfic The Darwin Chronicles, the mere mention of needles, syringes, or shots will cause Wolverine to hyperventilate.
- In Chapter 32 of The Command Quarters, Megatron is terrified of needles, thus forcing Starscream to trick Megatron into cuddling him so that he can inject the warlord with a sedative.
- The Star Wars fics Pointy Things and Nurse Solo have Han helping Leia through a fear of needles brought on by her Death Star experience.
- In the Turning Red fic Den Tae Phobia, Tae is a little worried when the dentist says she has to inject anesthetic into him, but Robaire helps him calm down by holding his hand.
- In Are You Being Served?, Mrs. Slocombe doesn't want to get her inoculations because she hates needles:
Mrs. Slocombe: But the mere sight of a needle makes me pass out, I can't even knit!
- Doctor in Clover:
- Wendover from Doctor in Clover is. Just the sight of a needle makes him Faint in Shock.
- Doctor in Trouble: When Dr. Burke shows the sick Russian trawlerman the needle he'll be using to put him to sleep with, the Russian panics and refuses the injection, so his Captain knocks him out herself with a punch.
- Ernest in Ernest Goes to Camp. And just after he brags about how tough he is..."Is that your smallest needle?"
- Escape from New York: No less a badass than Snake Plissken remarks that he "doesn't like needles". When you say it in his voice, it's still cool.
- In the documentary film The Forgotten Frontier, a nurse is about to immunize Appalachian schoolchildren when an extremely unhelpful local tells the kids not to get the shots, saying "It HURTS!" The kids cringe and don't step up to get their shots until a grown man steps up and bares his arm and gets a shot for himself.
- Godmothered: Eleanor shouts "No needle!" and resists Mackenzie's attempt to stab her with an Epi-Pen.
- In the movie Help! starring The Beatles, Ringo had to get an injection and was noticeably scared through the entire ordeal. At one point he even claimed to be "allergic to penicillin and all them other wonder drugs." George immediately passes out at the sight of the needle in question.
- In Love at First Bite, Dr. Rosenberg isn't afraid of Dracula or gangbangers, yet he freaks out when he's bundled into an ambulance and about to be injected with a sedative. "Get the air bubbles out!"
- Cho-won from Marathon (2005) is terrified of needles. His mother sometimes uses the threat of shots to get him to do what she wants. After he passes out during his first marathon, he resists the paramedics' help because he thinks they will give him a shot. His mother unsuccessfully tries to dissuade him from running in the second marathon by saying that he will have to get a shot for real if he passes out again.
- Nine Months: Robin Williams does a turn as a Russian-American obstetrician. "That is vhy vomen haf de babies, you know? Because men couldn't handle the p—" (nurse holds up huge needle) "—aaaaaahhh" *faints*.
- Saw II: Slightly subverted in the "needle pit" scene. There's a trap with a key to a door. The resident jerkass tosses Amanda into a trap set for himself: A pit filled with dirty syringes. Though shocked at first, she rises to the occasion and gets the key out of the trap as everyone else looks on in cowardly fear and revulsion. Also she was a recovering drug addict, which made it much scarier for her.
- Sleeper: Woody Allen's character, examined after being revived from cryogenic sleep 200 years in the future, is approached by a technician with a huge hypodermic...he stares in horror as the man walks by him to inject a potted plant, and promptly blacks out. Allen plays an anti-badass — he claims he was beaten up by Quakers.
- Star Wars: A New Hope: Certainly George Lucas was drawing on the audiences' fear of this when he zooms in on Darth Vader's evil Mind Probe, showing a needlenote waiting to be stuck into Princess Leia. Fortunately she's made of sterner stuff. (Clearly, it fails to make her talk.)
- In Under Siege, Casey Ryback is a former SEAL, who exhibits an awesome number and quality of skills in overcoming a group of terrorists. At the end, as he is being patched up by a Navy corpsman, he mentions that he doesn't like going to sick bay because he is afraid of needles.
- The classic old gag runs:
Doctor/medical orderly: Don't be afraid, it's just a little prick with a needle.
Patient: Yes, I know you are, but will the injection hurt?
- It is a long-running joke supposedly told by a nurse for someone covered in tattoos and/or piercings to freak out upon being told that they're going to be stuck with a needle for a blood test.
- To be fair, a tattoo needle and a hypodermic syringe are very different beasts in terms of pain: a tattoo gun barely pierces the top layers of the skin, while a vaccine or blood draw goes much deeper.
- She may be The Executioner but Anita Blake is a big ole baby about needles and stitches. Several characters call it out, amused that this gets to her when so many other things don't.
- In Animorphs, the Andalite Ax mentions that he's not afraid of needles. He denies it so quickly that while it doesn't raise the suspicion he really does have the phobia, it sounds like some members of the Andalite race have the phobia (despite, or maybe because, each Andalite has an Absurdly Sharp Blade on its tail). And it would be shameful for a warrior to have this phobia, but it's not necessarily rare among them.
- Ascendance of a Bookworm: Myne is used to getting fevers that leave her bedridden for days on end. The setting requires some contracts to be stamped with one's own blood, and Myne needs to sign several of them over the course of the story. Every single time, the part the step that makes her wince the most is the one where her finger needs to get pricked to draw blood.
- In John Hemry's Burden of Proof, Santiago bravely fights the fire in the compartment, even when the heat gets through her suit and "broils" her arm. After, Paul has to order her to get treatment, and she begs — she doesn't need a shot, does she?
- In Doom, Fly can blast his way through alien monsters and swim through toxic goo with few reservations. He needs to work up the nerve to give himself injections and fight off the excuses not to.
- In Arthur C. Clarke's novel A Fall of Moondust, the passengers of a buried moon rover are sedated to conserve oxygen until rescue can arrive. One passenger has to be physically knocked out to bypass his fear of needles, which had been hypnotically instilled to cure him of a drug addiction. (The hypnotic treatment included a trigger phrase to temporarily negate the phobia for legitimate medical injections, but the trapped passengers didn't have access to it.)
- As a 13-year-old noncombatant, Tash Arranda from Galaxy of Fear is not terribly badass, but she's still been through a lot of traumatic events. And she still gets anxious and shudders when she sees her brother being injected. He's fine with the things, himself.
- Surprisingly, Bex of The Gallagher Girls has a slight case of this.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel The Guns of Tanith, Gaunt arranges to have his shot before his men rather than in his cabin to set a good example; Dorden says they've had a few shirkers.
They'll bayonet anything, but the sight of a needle —
- In the Left Behind book The Mark, David Hassid tries to use this as an excuse to prevent Chang Wong from receiving the Mark of the Beast. Unfortunately, it fails.
- Lord Peter Wimsey at one point claims to be afraid of needles. Lord Peter (though possibly not yet the reader) has figured out that the doctor is the murderer, and fears the doctor wants to quietly dispose of him through a poisonous injection. He is correct.
- In MARZENA, Alexithymic Book Worm Dr. Lauren, to whom needles are just a plaything, has a dream about a woman stabbing her in the neck with a syringe. The First Book implies that the dream itself may be a subconscious fear of the doctor ending up in her own operating chair, and later on causes her to start shaking in uncontrollable anxiety at the sight of a simple needle.
- The title character of The Saga of Tuck also has a fear of needles. And doctors. And psychiatrists. And hospitals. Childhood asthma with recurrent bouts of pneumonia will do that to you.
- Alanna from the Song of the Lioness Quartet receives any number of battle wounds and continues to fight back. But when she has her ears pierced, she faints.
- Downplayed and justified in Twig. After spending most of his life enduring the most painful injections possible — and getting addicted to the effects — Sy has developed a deep hatred and mild fear for needles. That doesn't stop him from stabbing himself with one, though.
- Waste of Space: In this book, Dash states to the audience that Cesar Marquez is afraid of needles. When a syringe full of cyanide gets jabbed in his thigh, Cesar lets out a shriek and passes out. Thankfully, he wasn't injected with a lethal amount of cyanide.
- The protagonist of Larry Niven's A World Out of Time died of cancer before the book begins (he got better). He reflects on how that experience cured him of any fear of needles.
- On 30 Rock, Dr. Spaceman is creeped out by the idea of giving people injections.
- 9-1-1: Bobby's fear of needles once caused him to faint. He finds out he's Blessed with Suck after Chimney cajoles him into donating blood and it’s discovered that he has a rare genetic factor that makes his blood a treatment for Rhesus Disease, which means he has to donate blood on a regular basis.
- Roy Harper is afraid of needles, most likely as a Mythology Gag to him being an addict in the comics. Or subtle Foreshadowing to him getting injected with Mirakuru in the episode "Three Ghosts". When he has to get injected in the hospital, Thea Queen gives him a Kiss of Distraction which marks the start of their romance.
- Felicity Smoak has also admitted to being terrified of needles "and pretty much all pointy things". Given that her boss regularly shoots arrows in people, she notes the irony.
- In Barney Miller, tough ex-Marine Wojohowicz is shown to be afraid of a flu shot.
- Battlestar Galactica (2003): In "Rapture", Ace Pilot Starbuck winces repeatedly as Dualla jabs her with morpha needles, despite already being in incredible pain from second-degree burns to both hands. As Starbuck was having an affair with her husband at the time, Dualla clearly wasn't trying to be gentle.
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Rosa's fear of needles serves as a basis for the subplot of the Season 3 episode "House Mouses."
- Chuck: Chuck is terrified of needles. At one point he takes advantage of that fact to prolong/avoid torture.
- Logan Cale from Dark Angel admits he doesn't like needles in the episode "Female Trouble" when he tries to undergo therapy to prevent him from ending up back in a wheelchair.
- The Devil Judge: Sun-ah is afraid of syringes, though that doesn't stop her from injecting Yo-han with a drug.
- Doctor Who: Downplayed in "Doctor Who and the Silurians" — the Third Doctor is decidedly unhappy about having to get an injection against the Silurian plague, but grudgingly relents.
- Emergency!: Although John Gage is great at using needles as a paramedic, it's shown in at least one episode that he's fearful about *getting* shots.
- Jayne, the gruff, tough badass of the crew of Serenity, absolutely hates getting patched up by Simon after a job. As Jayne is the Butt-Monkey of the crew, this is Played for Laughs.
- River is also deathly afraid of needles, operating theaters, and the like, for perfectly understandable reasons. Decidedly not Played for Laughs.
- In an episode of Frasier, Frasier is advising people on his radio show to get flu shots. As an example, he claims he will be facing his fear of needles by getting his own shot live on the show. When Roz asks about his fear, he claims that he only pretends to be scared in order to inspire people who actually are scared. But then Roz starts talking about all the things that could go wrong with an injection, instilling actual fear in Frasier.
Phoebe: Did you know they do this with needles?
- Phoebe and Rachel decide to get tattoos, but Phoebe backs out at the last moment when she realizes it's actually done with needles.
Rachel Really? You don't say! Because MINE was licked on by kittens!
- Ross doesn't like needles either. In one episode, he has a severe allergic reaction to kiwi fruit and doesn't want to go to the hospital for a shot. He suggests that they could "take the needle and squirt it into my mouth, you know, like a squirt gun" instead. Monica says he can hold her hand while he gets the shot; he grips it so tightly, she ends up with a bone bruise and a puncture wound from her ring.
- Played with in an episode of Gilligan's Island in which the castaways all develop an allergy to Gilligan. The Professor develops an allergy shot for it, but the fear comes from the size of the "needle" on his handmade syringe. It's about the size of a small dagger.
- Lost: Benjamin Linus actually declares he can't stand needles. At the time he was manipulating Sawyer, so this may have been a lie to play up the drama.
- The jolly surgeons of the 4077 needed a rare blood type to save a man's life. They found the right donor, but he was terrified of needles. "I can't stand those things! They make me feel — oogy!" This shriveling coward's usual job? Bomb disposal.
- Frank Burns is terrified of shots too and has to be dragged to a blood drive. Of course, Frank is very much a Miles Gloriosus.
- In one episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, the Monster of the Week catches Kimberly's flu bug. Although this creature isn't afraid to fight the Rangers, he shivers in fear when Finster offers to give him a vaccine with a needle. Luckily for the monster, Finster had a cure in a cold pill, instead, which he was coaxing his creation to take in the FIRST PLACE!
- Mom: Jill is afraid of needles (except for Botox) which is why she became an alcoholic even though "heroin has fewer calories".
- Adrian Monk is afraid of nearly everything, but needles are very high. In fact, needles are second only to germs on his list (yes, he has a list of 312 fears and phobias; he's afraid of not having lists).
- This drives the plot of "Mr. Monk Goes to a Rock Concert": when a roadie is found dead of a heroin overdose, his girlfriend insists that it was foul play because he was too afraid of needles to inject himself. It is revealed that he had managed to overcome the phobia, but the overdose was a murder nonetheless.
Kendra Frank: Stork was completely phobic about needles. He was the only roadie I've ever met that didn't even have one tattoo! I mean, he missed a whole South American tour last year because he wouldn't get vaccinated!
- Also used as a plot point in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum," in what appeared to be a murder-suicide case: a junkie named Bill LaFrankie was hiding in the medical supply room after hours, then shot and killed the beloved director Dr. Conrad Gould when he came in while doing his rounds. He then used Dr. Gould's keys to break into a cabinet to steal some morphine. The police found him dead in the woods the next day, from a self-overdose. Monk, however, finds that LaFrankie was the fall guy when he breaks into current director Dr. Morris Lancaster's office and finds LaFrankie's file, which shows that he was afraid of needles, not to mention that Dr. Gould's keys were still in his pocket in one crime scene photo.
- One minor plot on an episode of NCIS is Abby convincing Team Gibbs to donate at a blood drive. Tony gives a slew of excuses before admitting that, ever since his stay in the hospital with the plague, he's deathly afraid of needles. In the end, Abby finds a special volunteer who's specially trained in helping people with trypanophobia (and rather pretty, which for Tony is a plus) and Tony goes off to give blood.
- Deeks from NCIS: Los Angeles. One smallpox vaccine and he goes down for the count.
- Oz: Neo-Nazi inmate Robson hates needles, so he insists on laughing gas while getting his receding gums replaced. This has serious consequences for him when he racially insults his Middle-Eastern dentist while high; in revenge, the dentist implants him with the gums of a black man, then lets everyone in prison know about it. After which needles become the least of Robson's worries.
"What is it with you Nazis and gas?"
- Leslie has this problem in Parks and Recreation — so much so that when her Heterosexual Life Partner Ann tries to inoculate her, she lets loose with a swear word.
- The Professionals. In "Stopover", a Double Agent cites this trope—claiming he was tortured by the Khmer Rouge Playing with Syringes—to avoid getting a sedative. The doctor gives him a pill instead, which he spits out once the doctor has left the room.
- In The Red Green Show Red Green is reluctant to get a DNA test done for this reason.
- In Sanctuary, Will's date can't stand needles, so she stays away while he's forced to function as doctor by their captors. Unfortunately, she still gets stuck by a different kind of needle, in an effort to get Will to work harder.
- Search: Ye-rim hates injections, and has to look away when she has her blood taken.
- Early in Smallville, Clark uses this as an excuse to get out of a blood drive. Actually, his Exact Words were "I kind of have a problem with needles" (the real problem being that they can't penetrate his skin).
- Star Trek:
- The various series use hyposprays, which are supposed to be painless and which don't pierce the skin. Nevertheless, many recipients wince when the spray is "injected". Possibly justified if the medication is of a kind that stings when it enters tissue.
- The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Little Green Men" shows Quark screaming at having received repeatedly ineffective injections of Sodium Pentethol.
- Very much downplayed, but in an episode of Stargate SG-1, the main characters each have to get injections in their... um... hindquarters. While Jack doesn't appear scared, he is nonetheless rather annoyed by the idea.
Jack: [to the nurse] Do me a favor, really try and jam it in there this time, will you?
- In The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Mr. Moseby is so afraid of needles that he tries to get out of taking a blood test by letting people in the line cut in front of him. When Maddie mocks him for his childish fear, he denies being afraid saying he would "laugh at the needle" only to faint when it's his turn.
- Diego Hargreeves of The Umbrella Academy straight-up faints when he tries to volunteer himself to donate blood to his sister. It almost certainly stems from the time his father gave him and his siblings homemade tattoos when they were thirteen.
- At least twice on What's Happening!!, when someone mentions "a needle" around Raj, Raj can only whimper a rough approximation of the question "A needle?"
- Will & Grace: Grace is so afraid of them that she can't even say "Ringo," because he was a Beatle and that sounds like "needle." Karen takes advantage of this fact when she finds out the other three are betting against her and employs a ridiculously young and airheaded nurse to take Grace's blood ("Don't worry, ma'am, I've done this bunches of times. Mostly on oranges, but...")
- Combined with Eye Scream, in Dead Space 2, the player must guide a needle into Isaac Clarke's pupil, in order to extract information from his brain. The needle begins to shake as you get closer to Isaac's soft, tender eye. Sounds bad? Try messing it up, where the needle would inexplicably turn into a drill!
- In Grow nano vol.3 you need to place objects to help a sick man to recover, one of these objects is medicine which turn into a doctor with a giant syringe after some turns, if the sick man is awake he will be scared and avoid the shot.
- A random cutscene in Harvest Town reveals that both Duke Evans and Chris Ford are nervous about getting their routine shots, and both quickly escape from the clinic when they are called for their turns.
- Mass Effect 3:
Mordin: Common Phobia. Fear of needles.
- Mordin claims this about Urdnot Wrex when he's eager to leave his lab and donate tissue samples later. Mordin's comment on the matter implies that this is common among male Krogans:
Shepard: ...or Salarian doctors.
- Its veracity may be debatable, but either way, it's hilarious. Especially when he finally gets around to it...
Wrex: Urgh, yeah...
Shepard: Something wrong?
Wrex: Mordin... He got his tissue sample, alright. Let's just scalpels were never meant to cut where he cut.
- Also Shepard, if you recruit Dr. Michel instead of Dr. Chakwas.
Shepard: After Cerberus, I'm not much on medical exams... No needles, right?
Dr. Michel: You get shot twenty times a day and a little pinprick makes you nervous?
- Holly, in Max's Big Bust: A Captain Nekorai Tale, is deathly afraid of needles, as is shown when she gets an injection of cat DNA to treat her cat allergy after becoming a Cat Girl. She's so afraid, in fact, that she nearly dislocates Max's arm as the latter holds her down for the injection. Afterwards, of course, she admits that it wasn't so bad and she got herself worked up for nothing.
- According to some official sources, Needle Man.
- In Metal Gear Solid 4, it is stated that resident Butt-Monkey Johnny Sasaki has skipped out on mandatory shots due to his fear of needles. This leaves him with no nanomachines in his body, unlike every other soldier out there, and makes him immune whenever anybody futzes with the nanos. Although he's never shown being afraid of needles and only mentions it right in the middle of his Big Damn Heroes moment, this also explains the character's trademark chronic diarrhea; because he skipped out on the shots, he's also not immunized to any bugs that might be in the local water.
- Prior to getting an injection to update his own nanos from Drebin, Snake resists, and Drebin asks if he is scared of needles. In this case, his fear, or rather hesitance, was justified, since the last time he received an injection before a mission, he got an unwanted gift: the FOXDIE virus. His gut instinct turns out to be correct, as Drebin also injected him with a new FOXDIE strain programmed to kill EVA/Big Mama, Ocelot, and Big Boss himself, but also serves as a blessing in disguise, as the new FOXDIE uproots and cancels out the original mutating strain and helps prevent Snake from becoming a walking biological weapon.
- Plays a big part in Nightmare Ned's Medical Nightmare stage.
- In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, if you go to the hospital later in the game and talk to the girl behind the counter, she teasingly offers to give everyone free flu shots. Cue the young Luke freaking out (though he does stay more composed than some of the examples on this page).
- John Joe from the Richman series is afraid of getting a shot when hospitalized.
- John Joe: [painfully] I don't want to get a shot!
- In Tamagotchi Corner Shop 2, at the clinic, one of the phrases that Mrs. Frill says is "I should tell you, I dislike needles."
- Montley from Valkyria Chronicles suffers from this, being afraid to the point that being close to a Lancer and their Lances causes him to hyperventilate and lose health.
- World of Warcraft has a boss called Grobbulous who may have been created to instill this fear in players. A giant flesh golem, he's ugly, gross, and has a giant needle in place of a right hand which he uses to spread some sort of lethal toxin.
- Helluva Boss: In a Furry Reminder moment, Loona the hellhound has to get a "Hellbies" shot in the episode Western Energy. The normally snarky, moody, and angry hellhound turns into a shivering, terrified mess at the thought of getting a shot, with Blitzo having to drag her around and comfort her during their entire stay in Sloth. When she finally sees the needle, she goes full feral dog in her attempt to avoid it, fighting off Bltizo and the Doctor, in order to not get injected, before they finally manage to subdue her and give her the shot.
- Rabbit Games: In "Pretty Rabbit", when the player is going to brush Percy's teeth, he refuses, and a bunch of sedative needles appear, causing him to freak out.
- There's a whole strip devoted to this in Bloody Urban, where Murray expresses his fears of needle-related death to his vampire girlfriend Camille.
- In CharCole, Cole faints due to this. It didn't go unnoticed, as Pokémon hardly ever have phobias. It also leaves him as a deer in the headlights when charged by a Nidoran.
- Invoked savagely in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, as Dan is dragged into the pre-enrollment physical at the Succubus and Incubus Academy. The "needle" is also so comically oversized that the doc has to hoist it over his shoulder, and he's stroking it lovingly like an infant.
Abel: Dan here needs to take the placement test, but can you bypass the needle part?
Dan: Needle pa—
Doc: Abel, I'm hurt. My needles are the gentlest thing since jumper cables.
- Dean & Nala + Vinny: Nala is very excited to learn that Dean has made plans for the trio to travel to Morocco. However, Dean brings up that Nala will need multiple inoculations, which Vinny lists: rabies, Hep A and B, etc. Not eager to get jabbed, Nala suggests they visit a sleepy Scottish village only two miles away instead: "It has a bowling club and it used to have a John Deere dealer."
- In Dissonance Pandora freaks when she spots Sarah with a needle.
- Also invoked in Housepets! with a fake syringe made of industrial foam that the vet uses to make Grape faint.
- Subverted in one of the Least I Could Do: Beginnings comics, wherein a young Rayne goes to the doctor and receives a shot without batting an eyelash. However, when the tongue depressors come out...
- Pato from M9 Girls!, is shown in overt distress and covering her eyes when a blood sample is taken from her.
- Ménage ŕ 3: In one plot sequence (originally a Kickstarter/print bonus story), lead character Gary is reduced to a quivering heap by the prospect of a blood test; he turns out to be very, very needle-phobic. In fact, he faints at the moment the hypodermic goes in, and the rest of the story is All Just a Dream.
- Sleepless Domain: All of the monsters in this comic are based on common fears and phobias, and one that appears in Chapter 19 embodies trypanophobia, or the fear of needles. The monster has six sharp, spindly legs, and its arms are two Giant Medical Syringes that can shoot out massive needles as projectiles.
- In Sunstone Cassie has never been fond of needles, it doesn't help that the poor girl's best friend is a tattoo artist and she just can't resist getting the most extravagant tattoo worthy of her personality.
- PieGuyRulz may be all Tranquil Fury in the video, but the way he describes an experience in college, needles seem to be his Berserk Button.
"I jump straight onto a thumbtack sticking up. I am terrified of needles. This was a very bad experience for me. If he (his roommate) had been there, he would have heard my wrath."
- SuperMarioLogan: Bowser Junior is revealed to be this, as shown when he had to get a flu shot.
- In 6teen, Nikki at first believes Jonesy has a fear of needles when he refuses to donate blood, makes excuses, and lies about it, but then she realizes that he's actually Afraid of Blood.
- 101 Dalmatians: The Series features Lucky doing everything he can to avoid getting a shot from the visiting veterinarian. This of course comes back to bite him when he comes down with the very unusual condition (pink spots, green fur, and an itchy and blue clown-like nose) that the shot would have prevented.
- Batman: The Animated Series: Harley Quinn cries like a little girl when Poison Ivy gives her a shot in "Harley and Ivy" (which she needs to survive the toxic waste dump Ivy is hiding out in). Harley even lampshades this by saying, "You'd think after hangin' out with Mistah J, I'd be used to a little pain."
- Baymax!: Mbita drives away from Baymax wanting to give him a histamine shot for his new fish allergies. Albeit Mbita would be terrified at a strange balloon robot with a needle finger coming out of him, something that Baymax himself lampshades. Mbita finally relents after Baymax saves him from a car crash.
- Danny Phantom: Tucker lists this as one of the reasons he hates hospitals.
- In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "This Won't Hurt an Ed", Eddy learns that Kevin is afraid of needles and uses this to torment him by convincing everyone it's Booster Shot Day. Though by the end of the episode, Kevin overcomes his fear of needles and it turns out that Eddy has to get a shot.
- The Fairly OddParents!: Poof catches the "Chicken Poofs" in the episode of the same name (meaning he turns into a chicken and whatever he sneezes on does too). When taken to get treated, Poof runs at the first sight of the doctor taking an oversized needle out to give him the medicine, leading to the main cast chasing after him as he causes chaos with his disease. When they finally catch Poof, the doctor reveals the needle is actually a carrying case for the medicine and he could've just given Poof a little sippy cup to cure him. Wanda is less than amused when she finds this out.
- Jackie Chan Adventures: Jackie wouldn't let a dentist anesthetize him because of this trope until he saw the instrument that'd later be used to remove his bad tooth.
- Kaeloo: In one episode, Stumpy claims to not be afraid of needles before fainting out of fear and proving that he is. In another one, Kaeloo uses this against him when he is Playing Sick and she needs to expose him and get him to stop, by claiming that a sick person needs injections. Stumpy immediately claims to have gotten better.
- Lilo & Stitch: The Series: Stitch hates needles. A lot. His greatest fear is water, and yet he doesn't hesitate to jump in the shower in an attempt to get out of injections. Justified as in the original film, he was pricked in the ear to have his blood extracted for DNA tracking in his prison cell.
- In an episode of Little Lulu, a Badass Biker has been trying to summon the courage to get a tattoo. Near the end of the episode, he observes kids and their mothers coming out of the tattoo parlour with (painted-on) tattoos and nearly collapses on his bike with shame.
- My Gym Partner's a Monkey:
- "Inoculation Day" reveals Jake is terrified of needles. The shot that was meant for him shoots Adam instead. Jake was so impressed by this that he doesn't notice when he gets a shot.
- In "Bubble Boy", Adam claims that he's allergic to big cats, but when the school nurse tries to shoot him with an allergy vaccine, he panics and makes up more allergies as she presents him with more vaccines meant for different animals. Given Adam turned into a monkey when he was shot with the vaccine that was meant for Jake in "Inoculation Day", his fear isn't exactly unjustified.
- The Penguins of Madagascar episode "Needle Point" reveals that Skipper is so afraid of shots, he almost had his team leave their home forever, then viciously fights them to get out of getting one. The other three even were afraid he might leave the zoo on his own and never return.
- The Rugrats episode "The Shot" gives this to Chuckie, who tells Tommy of him getting a booster shot, which sends Tommy into a panic. He and another baby, Hector, attempt to escape from the doctor's, only to be ratted out by Angelica. In the end, Tommy and Hector aren't affected by the shot at all, but Angelica, hit with Laser-Guided Karma, leaves the office bawling like a baby.
- One episode of Sabrina: The Animated Series has Sabrina have to go get treated for "Witch-itis" a disease that turns her tongue green and throws her magical powers out of whack. When she initially goes, she gets scared off by the doctor's supposed needle (it was just a watering can) and refuses to get treated.
- In The Simpsons episode "Bart Mangled Banner", Bart escapes out the window when he was due a flu vaccine while being chased by Dr. Hibbert for a lengthy sequence. He only gets the shot when he's tricked by Barney disguised as Dr. Hibbert with a Latex Perfection.
- South Park: In "Shots!", Cartman pretends to be an anti-vaxxer because he's afraid of getting a shot. In fact, just the mere sight of a needle causes him to freak out and run around squealing like a pig.
Cartman: Hey, what's going on—WEEEEEEEEEE!!!
- This Soviet cartoon shows that hippos aren't exempt from this trope, too.
- Lidocaine rubbing (which is standard procedure before injection) help alleviate this for some cases (such as intramuscular injection) to the point that needle injection feels like a bump, with mild sprain aftereffect surfacing hours after the lidocaine wears off.
- Jackie Chan was terrified of needles, yet he did all his own stunts for years. Cannot be insured due to the guarantee of injury during filming. The man has broken nigh every bone in his body, fractured his nose three (or more) times, has a hole in his skull, burned most of the skin of his hand off, to count among others.
- Al Capone was also afraid of needles. He had syphilis for most of his life (he "interviewed" many of his prostitutes), which could have been cured by a shot of penicillin, but instead suffered for years and eventually died of the disease because he refused to have an injection.
- Alcatraz officials eventually convinced him to get one after they found him too sick to move one day. The disease was pretty much terminal already, though, so all it did was stabilize his health for his last few years instead of improving it. Part of the reason he was let out of prison early was that they didn't think he was going to live long enough to see it out.
- Almost every small child, to the point where they cry upon having to go to the doctor's office.
- Jimi Hendrix was horribly afraid of needles.
- Some condemned criminals have actually opted for the electric chair over lethal injection because of this.
- Gerard Way has mentioned he doesn't have tattoos because of a fear of needles.
- Ditto for Taylor Swift.
- Eric Clapton, according to his ex-wife Pattie Boyd.
- Jim Morrison was reportedly afraid of needles as well.
- Former adult film actress Aurora Snow was afraid of the pain of getting a piercing or tattoo; she wouldn't get her ears pierced let alone a tattoo covering her whole back. As a result, she marketed herself that way via an IMDB quote.
- The "All In A Day's Work" or "Humor In Medicine" columns of the magazine Reader's Digest frequently feature stories told by nurses or doctors of a patient covered in tattoos and/or piercings freaking out upon being told that they're going to be stuck with a needle for a blood test or IV placement.
- Interestingly, this is one of the very few phobias that can be directly fatal in real life. A not-uncommon physical reaction is the reflex syncope - a sudden drop in blood pressure, often resulting in fainting. There are documented cases of people dying of vasovagal shock as a result.