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Fact check: Vaccination video shows retractable needle used to reduce needle injuries

Thousands of social media users have been sharing a video of a vaccination taking place, claiming that the needle disappears and therefore the vaccination is not authentic. However, the footage appeared in a Dec. 16, 2020 BBC News report and the broadcaster confirmed that the video showed a safety syringe that allows the needle to retract. Retractable needles are advised by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the World Health Organization as a way of reducing transmission of bloodborne diseases.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The posts (here , here , here , here) show a video clip, with a BBC News logo, that shows a healthcare worker inserting a syringe with a needle on the end into the recipient’s arm, pushing the top of the syringe down to insert a liquid and then retracting the syringe, leaving the needle no longer visible. Captions on the posts include, “Disappearing needles!! There [sic] soo desperate, come on!!”; “What happened to the needle? They need to do mail in vaccination cards. Time2awake.”; and “Where did the needle go needles just disappear now?”

The BBC said in a fact check article that the posts “use genuine footage showing healthcare professionals using a safety syringe, in which the needle retracts into the body of the device after use.” (www.bbc.co.uk/news/55364865)

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 .

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 Organisation 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 .

Britain started mass vaccination against COVID-19 on Dec. 8, 2020, injecting the most vulnerable with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and the United States followed suit on Dec. 14 (here , here) . At the time of writing on Dec. 21, at least 1,690,000 people had died from COVID-19 worldwide (here) .

VERDICT

False. The video shows a retractable needle, which are recommended by OSHA and the WHO as a way of reducing the transmission of bloodborne diseases from needle injuries.

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

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