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No, doctors don't need to aspirate the injection when giving the COVID-19 vaccine

Some have questioned the way doctors administer the COVID-19 vaccine, fearing a mistake could lead to myocarditis. We spoke with health experts to clear up concerns.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Information circulating on social media has some questioning the way doctors administer the COVID-19 vaccine. 

10TV's Karina Nova took your questions to health experts to get some answers. 

THE QUESTION:

Viewer Tony wrote in asking, "If you are going to get vaccinated, make sure that the nurse/doctor aspirates the injection site first. If the vaccine is injected intravenously, you are at a substantial risk of heart failures like myocarditis or pericarditis and that MRNA vaccines SHOULD NOT enter the bloodstream. Is this true?”

THE SOURCES:

  • Infectious Diseases Society of America 
  • The World Health Organization 
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
  • Dr. Joseph Gastaldo with OhioHealth

THE ANSWER:

No, the nurse/doctor should not aspirate the vaccine when injecting into the deltoid muscle, where your COVID-19 vaccine is administered.

Here's what we found: 

Dr. Gastaldo explains the idea behind aspirating, or pulling back the plunger when the needle is injected with the vaccine.

"The thought process is as an extra layer of protection, let's pull back the plunger to make sure there's no return  blood, which would signify the needle is in the vein and not the muscle," he says.

This social media advice partly stems from a recent study.

"I am aware of a clinical study done in august of 2021 where they directly injected a vaccine into the vessels of a mouse. In that study model the mice did get myocarditis. Again when we give the vaccine we are not injecting into the blood vessel, they're going it into the muscle," Dr. Gastaldo says.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America states that the World Health Organization and CDC no longer recommend aspiration of syringe plunger during intramuscular injections. The best practice is not to aspirate.

"You can see where people want to connect the dots and say 'as an extra layer of protection, I want them to pull back on the plunger not to hit any blood vessels.' Guess what? There are no major blood vessels there. If that was the case, we would do blood draws from there and we don't do that with patients in the hospital," Gastaldo explains, adding, "We have given over 440 million doses of these vaccines. If there was an issue of us giving a vaccine into the deltoid, we would have known it by now."

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And if you have more questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, please send them our way. Text us your questions to 614-460-3345. You may see them answered live Thursday, Nov. 18 during our 5:30 p.m. newscast.

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