FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A Doctor Removing A COVID-19 Vaccine From Someone’s Body Via Cupping?

Ryan King | Contributor

A video shared on Instagram purportedly shows a doctor removing a COVID-19 vaccine from someone’s body via cupping.

Verdict: False

The video appears to show wet cupping therapy. Experts told Check Your Fact there is no evidence cupping would remove a COVID-19 vaccine from a person’s body.

Fact Check:

The claim that the video shows a doctor suctioning a COVID-19 vaccine out of someone’s body using a form of cupping therapy has circulated widely over the past week. (RELATED: Did Dr. Leanna Wen Admit The COVID-19 Vaccine Is The Delta Variant?)

In the video, a person can be heard speaking Russian while what looks like wet cupping therapy is performed on another person’s arm. Cupping therapy, which received attention during the 2016 Olympics, involves using suction created by a cup on a part of the body in an attempt to encourage blood flow for healing, according to Cedars-Sinai. Wet cupping therapy, unlike dry cupping, includes small cuts being made in the skin to remove blood, Harvard Health Publishing explains online.

This particular post alleges, “You can Remove the V But Not the Effects it take on the Body…..Russian scientist remove jab using suction cup,” while another popular iteration includes text inside the video saying in part, “Video showing the removal of the vax content within 30 mins of jab.”

Stephen Dickey, a professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Kansas, listened to the Russian dialogue in the video and told Check Your Fact “there is no mention of the vaccine.”

“In fact, there is no mention at all of exactly what is being extracted,” Dickey said in an email. “At the very end, it sounds they are getting ready to say what besides blood is in the glass container.”

The three COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. are administered intramuscularly, meaning the contents of the vaccine are injected past layers of skin into muscle, CDC documents show. Two experts told Check Your Fact via email cupping would not remove a COVID-19 vaccine from someone’s body.

Dr. Michael Kinch, director of the Center for Drug Discovery at Washington University in St. Louis, said the Instagram post’s claim was “utterly irrational” from a “scientific perspective.”

“The antigen is generally introduced into the muscle, where it is efficiently flushed towards the lymphatic system, eventually distributed near where it was injected and within proximal lymph nodes,” Kinch explained. “Cupping would not seem to have any impact on this outcome. While this process might irritate tissues and draw the skin upwards, it wouldn’t pull the antigen out of the body.”

“I am not aware of evidence that cupping removes vaccines or treats Covid symptoms,” said Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, the director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

As of Sept. 28, some 185.3 million people in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In total, the U.S. has administered over 391.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the same date, the agency reports on its website.

Ryan King