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BBC footage shows COVID-19 vaccination with retractable needle

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CLAIM: Video shows health care worker faking giving the COVID-19 vaccine in England with a “disappearing needle.”

THE FACTS: The video does not show a staged shot. As video footage of COVID-19 vaccinations floods news channels and social platforms, some social media users are misrepresenting those videos to create a false narrative that health care workers are not actually being inoculated.

Britain Vaccines Minorities

FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 file photo, a nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)

The posts are being shared by people who oppose vaccines in order to spread doubt about the vaccine and the pandemic. Social media users are amplifying these false claims by sharing a nine-second BBC clip from Wednesday that shows a health care worker administering a vaccine into the arm of a patient. The needle retracts after the vaccine is injected. One Twitter video that falsely suggests the medical worker is faking the inoculation has been viewed more than 420,000 times. ’“Disappearing needles!! There soo desperate, come on!!” one tweet said. Another said, “So far I have yet to see a real vaccine given to a patient. All fakes. May I present to you, the disappearing needle...Remember those collapsible toy knives we used to play with as kids?”

In reality, the videos show a health care worker using a safety syringe, which is retractable to prevent needlestick injuries that can spread diseases like hepatitis. Safety syringes have no impact on the amount of vaccine someone gets and are no different from receiving the vaccine through a traditional needle, said Dr. Craig Spencer, director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. Spencer received the COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday. “What you saw in those videos are retractable needles,” he said. BBC debunked the claims earlier Thursday. A BBC spokesperson told the AP that the footage was genuine and showed a health care worker using a safety syringe. “Most importantly, people need to be learning about vaccinations from trusted health sources like the CDC, not your aunt’s Facebook page or a viral tweet,” Spencer said.

—Beatrice Dupuy

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