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Fact check: Video shows retractable needle used for safety purposes, not ‘fake needle’

Social media users are sharing a video that shows the inoculation of frontline workers with the COVID-19 vaccine at the Memorial Health Services’ (MHS) vaccine center in Miramar, Florida. Some of these posts allege the needle “does not come out”, of the patient’s arm. Other posts allege that a “retractable needle” is used to “forge” the inoculation. Both claims are false.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

A spokeswoman for MHS told Reuters that the video shows syringes with retractable needles, which is a safety feature to benefit both the nurse injecting the vaccine and the patient.

Some posts ( here , here  ) allege the “retractable needle” is used to “fake” the inoculation. “Who they think they fooling, (sic) it’s a retractable needle just like they use in movies with the fake knives. Peep game family...”, one post reads. 

Another post ( here ), which also features a video of president elect Joe Biden being vaccinated for COVID-19 ( here ) alleges the needle used to vaccinate “regular citizens” will introduce “something”, aside from the vaccine. “THE NEEDLE DIDNT COME OUT. their trying to put something in us I’m not going to say too much”, the post reads.

Reuters previously clarified a similar claim that featured footage of a COVID-19 inoculation with a retractable needle here .

Reuters could not find the exact video clip featured in the post on social media, but in a news segment by South Florida's station WSVN 7 News, the logo and the “Vaccine arrives” graphics at the bottom right of the screen match those in the video circulating on social media ( here ).

The scene captured in the video used in the post is also visible in longer, unedited footage by another local station here . Colours may look more vivid in the social media posts as it seems to be a recording from a monitor.

The footage shows frontline healthcare workers receiving the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at the vaccine center of the Memorial Health System in Miramar, Florida on Dec. 14 ( here ).

A woman with the white blouse, can be seen receiving her inoculation around timestamp 2:36 ( here ). The man with the blue t-shirt is visible around timestamp 2:48. A similar angle of the footage visible in the post is visible youtu.be/47kfJiciA9o?t=102 .

Kerting Baldwin, administrative Director of Corporate Communications of the MHS, told Reuters via email that the video shows retractable needles made by VanishPoint ( retractable.com/Products ), which were provided by Pfizer to inject the COVID-19 vaccine.

This type of syringe, Baldwin explained, “provide a safety feature”, both for the nurse injecting the vaccine and the patient. “This syringe is absolutely delivering the vaccine with a higher level of safety”, she added.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website explains how retractable needles work: “After the needle is used, an extra push on the plunger retracts the needle into the syringe, removing the hazard of needle exposure”. An animation of this can be seen on the OSHA website here . A video from VanishPoint, the brand used by the MHS, also illustrates this process,  here   .

Retractable needles are one of the engineering controls outlined by the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, that can be used to reduce the risk of catching bloodborne diseases from needle injuries ( here  , here ).

A World Health Organization document on “Ensuring Safe Injections” also explains that retractable needles can be used to reduce the risk of injury, as seen here on page four  here  .

Reuters has debunked other claims about first dosages of the COVID-19 vaccines  here  ,  here , here  .

VERDICT

False. Video shows syringes with retractable needles used for safety purposes when injecting the COVID-19 vaccine.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here  .

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