We’ve all seen the video and pictures over the past three weeks of people receiving the pandemic-altering vaccines into their upper arms, and that’s where the COVID-19 vaccine goes, straight into the deltoid muscle.
But Dr. Tom Pitts, a neurologist who practices in New York City, says as he’s watched the images, he has noticed too many instances in which the skin is being pinched as the needle is inserted.
That could lead, he says, to the vaccine being injected into the subcutaneous fat, the fat layer under the skin, instead of into the muscle where it needs to go.
If that happens, Pitts says the vaccine will not be effective.
“The hard part was getting the vaccine, the hard part shouldn’t be injecting it into the muscle,” Dr. Pitts said.
So he’s been sounding the alarm on social media in physicians’ chat groups, circulating diagrams which show the correct methods of injecting an intramuscular vaccine, and reminding health care professionals with a simple hashtag, #DoNotSqueezeMyArm.
“I’m so excited we have it, and I would just really hate to see not only people not get vaccinated, but to also give them the false sense of security that they were vaccinated, that’s almost worse, right?” Pitts said.
With millions of doses being distributed around the planet, if even a small percentage are given incorrectly, Pitts says the numbers will add up quickly.
“And you put that same situation in multiple hospitals across the world you have a catastrophe, and I thought this entirely avoidable and reversible so let’s go ahead and jump on it early, and see what I can do to help,” Pitts said.
He says he’s received an overwhelmingly positive response from other physicians since he started his outreach effort, reminding all health care pros to give the shot where it counts.