(Reuters) - A recent picture of Jacinda Ardern has been shared by social media users to falsely claim the New Zealand prime minister faked her COVID-19 inoculation.
Ardern received her first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech shot on June 18 at a vaccination centre in Auckland. However, users online have attempted to cast doubt over the authenticity of the moment.
The social media posts include a photo of Ardern captured by photographers that attended the centre. Here are the social media posts suggesting the vaccination was faked:
According to one user, the photo reveals a safety cap was present on the syringe at the moment of inoculation, while another suggested the syringe was an “empty” one.
One user commented: “Don’t believe it for a minute. Where’s the nurses [sic] gloves and why is there tape blocking the needle?”
These conclusions, however, are flawed. Reuters has previously fact-checked similar claims made about a photo of the Duchess of Cambridge, where social media users also pointed to the lack of gloves on the vaccinator, the small dosage in the syringe and an apparent “safety cap” on top.
Firstly, the needle used to inject Ardern does not have a safety cap attached. The photo used in the posts shows a plaster that was placed on the prime minister’s arm, as videos showing another angle of the vaccination show otherwise. Part of the plaster is placed on Ardern’s upper arm as the vaccinator administers the shot. Once the needle is pulled away, the rest of the plaster is placed over the injection site.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern received her first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, as the country steps up efforts to inoculate its population https://t.co/QKoVPYAQbC pic.twitter.com/QEyszHwTnO— Reuters (@Reuters) June 18, 2021
Secondly, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends against the use of gloves for “routine, subcutaneous and intramuscular injections”. This is because an intramuscular vaccination in the upper arm “does not routinely lead to exposure to blood or other potentially infectious bodily fluids,” said NHS vaccine researcher Dr. Andrea Mazzella in a previous interview with Reuters.
Claims that no liquid was present in the syringe before inoculation are also unfounded. Ardern received the Pfizer shot, of which one dose amounts to a small 0.3ml.
Hence, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern received the Pfizer/BioNTech shot for COVID-19. Social media claims casting doubt over the inoculation are baseless.