Fact check: Posts falsely claim cap was on Nancy Pelosi's COVID-19 vaccine

McKenzie Sadeghi, USA TODAY

The claim: Image with cap over syringe shows Nancy Pelosi didn't get COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine began rolling out in limited doses this week, and U.S. government officials have been among the first to receive vaccinations in attempts to boost confidence and prove that the shots are safe and effective.

Vice President Mike Pence and top congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, posted photos of their vaccinations on Friday..

Following announcements, some social media users made claims that Pelosi, D-Calif., did not actually receive the shot based on an image that purportedly shows an orange cap over the syringe.

"How do you use a syringe with a cap still on?" one user wrote in a Dec. 18 Facebook post that includes three images of Pelosi's vaccination; two of the photos appear to be close-ups of the larger image showing the injection. The post has over 1,400 shares.

Other users shared the same or similar images, some with a caption on top that reads, "Pelosi got the covid vaccine. Can someone explain how effective the vaccine is if you leave the cap on the needle You aren't fooling no one."

USA TODAY reached out to the users for comment.

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Brian Monahan, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress, administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,in the U.S. Capitol Building on Dec. 18, 2020 in Washington.
Brian Monahan, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress, administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,in the U.S. Capitol Building on Dec. 18, 2020 in Washington.

Pelosi was vaccinated

Pelosi announced in a press release that she would be getting coronavirus vaccine after being informed that members of the House and Senate are eligible under government continuity guidelines.

The House speaker was given the first dose of the vaccine on Dec. 18, USA TODAY reported.

"Today, with confidence in science & at the direction of the Office of the Attending Physician, I received the COVID-19 vaccine," Pelosi tweeted, along with photos of her receiving the shot. "As the vaccine is being distributed, we must all continue mask wearing, social distancing & other science-based steps to save lives & crush the virus."

Many photos document the entire process of Pelosi receiving the vaccine and her posing in front of reporters with her COVID-19 vaccination record card.

The orange "cap" seen in the images may be a plastic safety covering on the syringe that flips over the needle after use. In the images in the viral posts, only the orange piece of the syringe can be seen as the injection is administered.

But a photo of Pelosi getting the Pfizer vaccine taken from a different angle, visible on Getty Images, by pool photographer Ken Cedeno clearly shows the needle before it goes into Pelosi's arm.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot by Dr. Brian Monahan, attending physician Congress of the United States in Washington on Dec. 18, 2020. The needle is visible in this image; it is not covered by a safety cap.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot by Dr. Brian Monahan, attending physician Congress of the United States in Washington on Dec. 18, 2020. The needle is visible in this image; it is not covered by a safety cap.

A similar claim regarding London Mayor Sadiq Khan getting the flu shot went viral in October, when social media users alleged that he did not actually get the injection because the cap was still on the needle. A spokesperson for the mayor of London told Full Fact that the photo was taken just before he received the injection which is why the cap is still visible in the image.

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Our rating: False

Claims that Nancy Pelosi did not actually get vaccinated against COVID-19 because there was an orange cap over the needle are FALSE. Photos of Pelosi getting the vaccine clearly show the needle going into her arm without a cap on it.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Photos show Nancy Pelosi receiving COVID-19 vaccine