FACT CHECK: Did Anthony Hopkins Fake His COVID-19 Vaccination Shot?
A viral Instagram post claims to show a nurse pretending to give actor Anthony Hopkins a COVID-19 vaccination before squirting the liquid on the ground.
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Hopkins received a full dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, according to a spokesperson for the hospital that administered his shot. The video shows a nurse ejecting excess liquid that occupies “dead space” in the syringe after the full dose is injected.
Multiple celebrities have posted videos or photos of themselves receiving COVID-19 vaccinations on social media. Hopkins, who is known for playing Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs,” shared a video of his jab on Instagram in late January.
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“THANK YOU PublicHealth.LACounty.Gov CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, and my dear friend, Dr. Maria Teresa Ochoa,” he wrote on Instagram. “Light at the end of the tunnel (after one year of self imposed quarantine).”
Some social media users have since re-shared Hopkins’ video along with claims that the nurse pretended to give him the injection. For instance, the Instagram account @republicanparty said in part, “Here is @anthonyhopkins ‘receiving’ his shot. Notice she squirts the solution onto the ground at the end of the video. Propaganda to get you to take an experimental drug, when they don’t take it themselves.”
While the nurse does appear to expel some fluid from the needle at the end of the video, it is inaccurate to claim Hopkins faked his vaccination. Su Lee, director of corporate communications and marketing at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, told Check Your Fact in an emailed statement that Hopkins “received a full dose vaccination.”
“The excess liquid pictured in the video is a result of residual volume that occupies the ‘dead space’ in the needle system (e.g., cannula, hub, Luer) AFTER the full dose drawn into the syringe has been administered,” Lee explained. “This is expected, and ‘dead space’ is present in every medication administered by injection. Most importantly, the vaccine present in the ‘dead space’ is what was seen as being expelled out of the syringe after the full dose of the vaccine had been given to Mr. Hopkins.”
The Washington Post, Bloomberg and Fortune reported Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine vials can provide an additional sixth dose if a low dead space needle is used. While the U.S. government did start providing low dead space needles to squeeze that sixth dose out of the vials, a shortage of the special syringes has impeded the effort, Reuters reported.
Over 98 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the U.S. as of March 11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.