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Vaccines can’t be removed after injection, contrary to cupping video

September 25, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows COVID-19 vaccine being removed after injection using cupping therapy.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. There is no way to remove a vaccine after injection. The video shows blood from a superficial layer of the skin, whereas the vaccine is injected deeper and into one’s muscle.

THE FACTS: A video circulating across social media platforms falsely claims to show a method for extracting a COVID-19 vaccine after it has been injected.

“Video showing the removal of the vax content within 30 mins of jab,” reads text overlaid on the video, shared repeatedly on Instagram, among other platforms. It says the blood is “coagulated.”

A version of the video shared on TikTok and the video-hosting website BitChute includes a screenshot of a message advising: “How to remove a large part of the toxic Covid vaccine injection from your body by cupping. Note: This only works for 30 minutes after the vaccine.”

The video, which is narrated in Russian, shows an unidentified individual’s arm with a red circle following cupping, an ancient practice in China and other parts of the world that uses cups to create suction on skin to try to relieve sore muscles and other ailments. Another person in the video then applies a series of small cuts to the same area of the arm, before again applying a cup to the arm and drawing out blood, a process known as “wet cupping.”

Jenny Kaminer, an associate professor of Russian at the University of California, Davis, who reviewed the video for The Associated Press, said in an email that the person speaking in the video provides instructions for that process throughout the video.

The speaker makes note of the blood in the cup, and of plasma—which is part of blood—before the video cuts off, Kaminer said.

Dr. John Swartzberg, clinical professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California, Berkeley, called the claim that such a process can remove a vaccine “patently absurd.”

Swartzberg noted that the COVID-19 vaccines are injected deep and into muscle, whereas the video shows blood being removed from a very superficial layer of the skin. “It doesn’t remove any of the vaccine material,” he said of what’s depicted in the video.

There is not a way to remove a vaccine after injection, Swartzberg said.

Also, “when you cut yourself, the first thing the body is going to do is cause that blood to clot”—to prevent further blood loss—“and that’s exactly what you may be seeing here,” Swartzberg said. He further noted, though, that it was also unclear if those who made the video had any other materials in the cup.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.