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

Thousands of social media users share a video of a vaccination claiming that the needle disappears and that the vaccination is therefore not authentic. However, the footage appeared in a BBC News report of 16 December 2020 and the broadcaster confirmed that the video showed a safety syringe causing the needle to retract. Retractable needles are recommended by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the World Health Organization to reduce the transmission of blood-borne diseases.

Reuters fact check. REUTERS

The posts (here , here, here, here) shows a video clip, with a BBC News logo, showing a healthcare worker inserting a syringe with a needle into the recipient’s arm at the end, the top of the syringe to under pressure to insert a liquid and then retract the syringe so that the needle is no longer visible. Captions on the posts include: “Disappearing Needles !! There [sic] soo desperate, come on !! ”; ‘What happened to the needle? They have to do mail in vaccination cards. Time2awake. ”; and “Where did the needle go, have the needles just disappeared?”

The BBC said in a fact-checking article that the reports “used real material used by health workers using a safety syringe, in which the needle is inserted 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 pressure on the plunger pulls the needle into the syringe, removing the risk of exposure to the needle.” 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, which can be used to reduce the risk of developing blood-borne diseases due to needle injuries (here, here).

A document from the World Health Organization on ‘Ensuring safe injections’ also explains that retractable needles can be used to reduce the risk of injury, as seen here on page four.

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


Untrue. The video shows a retractable needle recommended by OSHA and the WHO to reduce the transmission of blood-borne diseases due to needle injuries.

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