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Photos show vaccinations being given, not staged events

December 29, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Photo collage proves vaccinations were staged.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The collage contains four photos of people being given vaccines: two of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, one of Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer, receiving a flu shot in Canada, and another that shows a man in Sheffield, England, preparing for the COVID-19 vaccine.

THE FACTS: As the COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out in several countries, false claims have swirled on social media alleging that the injections are staged. A collage of photos emerged last week billed as proof that people weren’t actually being injected. “Pictures don’t lie!” the Facebook post states.

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Two photos of Pelosi show her receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 18. “Nancy Pelosi, orange cap still covering syringe!” The Facebook post falsely states.

The doctor who administered the vaccine didn’t leave a cap on the syringe. Photos by The Associated Press show that the orange part of the syringe wasn’t a cap, and that the needle extended beyond it. That orange piece is likely the needle hub, a plastic piece that attaches the syringe to the needle.

The photo capturing Hinshaw receiving a flu shot at a pharmacy in October was taken by photographer Chris Schwarz for the government of Alberta. Since the pharmacist’s hand rested on Hinshaw’s arm while she administered the shot, the injection site could not be seen in the photo. “Nurses hand in way, can’t see the actual injection!” the post says.

But that’s just the position the pharmacist held her hand. Her hand was positioned the same way when she immunized Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro.

Alberta’s government also posted a video of Hinshaw receiving the shot on Oct. 19. The video clearly shows that the needle went into her arm.

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The photo of Anthony Moore, who received a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 8 at Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, England, shows a nurse talking to him before his sleeve was rolled up for the vaccine.

“They forgot to roll the poor guy’s sleeve up before taking this staged photo. How embarrassing,” the Facebook post falsely states.

According to Laura Kirby, a spokeswoman at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, the photo was taken before the actual injection. “It is not a photograph of the injection being given. The actual injection was carried out appropriately and with the patient’s sleeve moved out of the way to access his bare arm,” Kirby said in an email.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536