As countries vaccinate their population against the novel coronavirus, several videos showing healthcare workers administrating empty syringes have surfaced on the Indian social media ecosystem. Facebook user Shashi Dhar Mehta wrote, “Be careful during vaccination. Don’t turn your face getting the jab, check if the medicine has been administered or not. The staff only prick the needle and take it out. Be careful during this difficult time.” He shared four videos to support the claim.

Be careful during Vaccination
टीका लगाते समय मुँह ना घुमायें,
यह देख ले कि दवाई अंदर गयी है या नहीं…
स्टाफ केवल सूई चुभा कर निकाल लेते है
इस कठिन समय में सतर्कता बरतें..👆👆

Posted by Shashi Dhar Mehta on Wednesday, 2 June 2021

The videos were also shared on Facebook group ‘निजी अस्पतालों की लूट’.

Several individual users on Facebook have amplified the clips.

टीका लगाते समय मुँह ना घुमायें,
यह देख ले कि दवाई अंदर गयी है या नहीं…
नर्सिंग स्टाफ केवल सूई चुभा कर निकाल लेते है
इस कठिन समय में भ्रष्टाचार की हद हो गयी …

दोनों वीडियो में देखें

Posted by Raju Gantelman on Tuesday, 1 June 2021

The videos are also widespread on Twitter.

None of the videos are from India

Video 1

This video shows an elderly woman wearing a dark blue T-shirt getting a vaccine dose in a vehicle. The video shows the healthcare worker insert the needle in the woman’s arm but not push the syringe to inject the vaccine.

A reverse image search of the video’s keyframes on Google revealed that the video is from the Brazilian city of Goiania. Facebook page ‘CBN Goiânia’ had posted the video on February 10. The page wrote that the daughter, 57, of an 88-year-old woman, claimed that her mother was not vaccinated by a nurse. The daughter, Luciana Jordão, had recorded the video. The nurse apologised upon Jordão’s questioning and gave the excuse that she did not realise that the syringe wasn’t pushed. CBN contacted the Municipal Health Department for comment and the outlet was told that the matter is under investigation.


DENÚNCIA | A filha de uma idosa de 88 anos denuncia que a mãe não recebeu a vacina contra a Covid-19 na primeira aplicação, na manhã desta quarta-feira (10), em Goiânia. À TV Anhanguera ela disse que a enfermeira enfiou a agulha no braço da mãe, mas não injetou a dose do imunizante. O momento foi filmado pela aposentada Luciana Jordão, de 57 anos, filha da idosa. Segundo Luciana, a mãe só foi devidamente imunizada após ela perceber que o líquido na seringa não havia sido aplicado e questionar a enfermeira, durante a vacinação no Setor Universitário.

Luciana relata que a enfermeira respondeu que havia vacinado, mas, ao ser confrontada sobre o líquido estar na seringa, pediu desculpas e disse que não tinha percebido. A CBn foi atrás de uma resposta da Secretaria Municipal de Saúde e, segundo a SMS o caso já chegou até eles e que o órgão está averiguando caso.


Posted by CBN Goiânia on Wednesday, 10 February 2021

‘mais goias’ reported that the incident took place on February 9 and the nurse was removed from the post.

Video 2

This video shows a healthcare worker using an empty syringe on an elderly man. Alt News had debunked this video in April.

With the help of the digital verification tool InVid, Alt News broke the video into multiple keyframes, then performed a Google reverse image search of one of the keyframes. We found that the video is from Mexico. A report published by the Mexican newspaper El Universal stated that the incident occurred in Macro Vaccination Unit based at the National School of Biological Sciences Zacatenco Unit of National Polytechnic Institute (IPN).

A press release issued by the Secretariat of Health of Mexico City informed, “This event was reported by a family member accompanying the elderly adult, who was offered an apology and proceeded to apply the vaccine correctly, without major complications in the presence of his family, who in turn witnessed the procedure and reported on their social networks that the situation was corrected. It is reported that the volunteer vaccinator was removed from the corresponding vaccination cell.” [Translated via Google translate]

Video 3

The third video was shared on social media as an incident from Indonesia but Indonesia-based Antara News published a fact-check report stating that the incident took place in Brazil. ‘Turnbackhoax‘ also published a fact-check which said that the video has been circulating on Brazilian websites.

Argentinian website ‘minutouno‘ too reported that the incident took place in Brazil.

Video 4

Another video of a nurse removing the needle without injecting the vaccine was shared by Ecuador-based Twitter handle @gabriela_ma94 on April 26. Former Minister of Health of Ecuador Dr Camilo Salinas responded to the handle that the nurse and the patient have been identified and an investigation has been launched.

CNN en Español reported that Secretary-General of the Cabinet of the President of Ecuador Jorge Wated said that the man, 55, fraudulently passed the queue for people above 65 years of age to get vaccinated. The nurse did not vaccinate him at first, as seen in the video, but later did give him a dose. They were both detained for investigation.

The Ministry of Health of Ecuador had tweeted a press release on April 26 itself that said the nurse was identified. The incident took place at a vaccination centre in Mucho Lote in Guayaquil.

A set of videos from across the world have been circulating in India with the false claim that healthcare workers are inserting needles and taking them out without administering vaccines on patients.

About the Author

Kinjal Parmar holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. However, her keen interest in journalism, drove her to pursue journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. At Alt News since 2019, she focuses on authentication of information which includes visual verification, media misreports, examining mis/disinformation across social media. She is the lead video producer at Alt News and manages social media accounts for the organization.