Health workers prepare doses of the Covid-19 coronavirus CoronaVac vaccine at Bang Sue Central Railway Station in Bangkok on June 22, 2021. (AFP / Lillian Suwanrumpha)

False posts circulate in Thailand about the use of anaesthesia after Covid-19 vaccination

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As Thailand races to boost its coronavirus vaccine roll-out to curb a surge in infections, Facebook posts warned against the use of anaesthesia after receiving the jab, claiming it could “cause death”. The posts also claim such warning "also exists on the Covid-19 vaccine boxes". However, the claims are false; health experts say anaesthesia can be used both before and after the jab, while AstraZeneca and Sinovac said there was no such warning on their vaccine packages.

The post was published here on Facebook on June 16, 2021.

The post's Thai-language caption reads: “Anaesthesia must not be used to those who have just received Covid-19 vaccine, including local anaesthesia because this is extremely dangerous and could cause death. You have to wait four weeks after the Covid-19 vaccine. A relative of my friend went to the dentist after Covid-19 vaccination and died instantly after receiving local anaesthesia. The warning also exists on the Covid-19 vaccine boxes.” 

Thailand launched a mass Covid-19 vaccination drive in early June 2021 as it sought to beat a wave of infections, AFP reported.

A similar text has been shared on Facebook here and here.

However, the claims are false.

Anaesthesia claim

In response to the claim, Thailand’s Institute of Dentistry under the Department of Medical Services said that there was no particular risk associated with receiving local anaesthesia after a Covid-19 jab.

“Covid-19 vaccine does not have any effect on dental treatment, using local anaesthesia. You can do it before and after receiving the jab, safely and effectively,” it said in this statement on June 15, 2021.

“There are two forms of anaesthesia: an inject and gel type. It is used to anaesthetise the area treated to relieve pain after the treatment. It does not affect one's immunity either before or after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine,” the Thai-language statement reads.

Associate Prof. Dr Pornchai Jansisyanont, the Dean of Faculty of Dentistry at Chulalongkorn University, also confirmed that "there is no academic evidence" to support the claim and that anaesthesia can be used after Covid-19 vaccination without any restrictions. 

"There is no report related to the death of using anaesthesia after Covid-19 vaccination," he told AFP on June 24, 2021.

As of June 25, 2021, AFP has found no credible death report related to the use of anaesthesia after Covid-19 vaccination.

The false claim was also debunked by Thailand’s Anti-Fake News Centre, a government-run platform within the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society.

Purported warning on the vaccine packages

Thailand is administering AstraZeneca and Sinovac’s CoronaVac Covid-19 jabs as part of its vaccination drive.

Pucharapan Holim, Communications Manager of AstraZeneca in Thailand said that no such warning is indicated in the packages of the firm’s Covid-19 vaccines.

“There is no purported warning [in the package]. Our package does not have anything besides the QR code which leads to the official information regarding the vaccines,” she told AFP on June 21, 2021.

The 12-page package leaflet of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, also shows no mention of the use of anaesthesia after vaccination as stated in the misleading post.

Pearson Liu, Senior Brand Director of Sinovac Biotech said there was “no data” on the use of anaesthesia after Sinovac’s CoronaVac.

“The message is not real, there's no such warning [on the vaccine box]. We have not received relevant reports about people showing side effects after receiving CoronaVac and then anesthesia,” he said.

AFP has previously debunked misleading advice about Covid-19 vaccination here.