South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is inoculated with a Covid-19 vaccine shot at the Khayelitsha Hospital in Cape Town on February 17, 2021 (AFP / Gianluigi Guercia)

President Cyril Ramaphosa did not receive his Covid-19 vaccine with a capped needle

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Social media posts have claimed that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa received a Covid-19 shot with a syringe that still had the needle covered by a cap. This is false; various images and videos taken from different angles show Ramaphosa was vaccinated with an exposed needle.

“Zoom in. The cap is still on the needle. Love the sterile gloves,” reads a February 18, 2021, Facebook post that includes a picture of Ramaphosa receiving a Covid-19 vaccination.

A screenshot of the false post taken on February 23, 2021

Officials wearing masks watch on as a nurse prepares to jab Ramaphosa in his left arm. The plunger has a visible label attached to it, but no cap covering the needle.

Misleading claims about Covid-19 vaccines continue to spread online as they are administered around the world, raising fears and doubts about a key tool in the fight against a disease that has killed more than 2.4 million people. Of those fatalities, close to 50,000 have been in South Africa.

Ramaphosa received his jab on February 17, 2021, a historic moment that was captured by several media outlets and broadcast live on multiple web platforms. 

“Taking the vaccine was quick, easy and not so painful,” he tweeted, along with a two-minute video of the shot being administered. “I urge all our healthcare workers to register to receive their vaccinations as they are our first line of defence against the coronavirus pandemic.”

The exposed needle is clearly seen in footage broadcast by local media here and here.

A screenshot of Ramaphosa receiving his injection, taken from a video recorded by South African broadcaster eNCA

An AFP photo also shows that the needle was uncovered at the time the shot was administered.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is inoculated with a Covid-19 vaccine shot at the Khayelitsha Hospital in Cape Town on February 17, 2021 (AFP / Gianluigi Guercia)

The false Facebook post also comments on the fact that the nurse administering the jab is not wearing gloves.

But according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of gloves for the Covid-19 vaccine is not required unless the person administering the shot has open wounds or might come into contact with potentially infectious bodily fluids.

A screenshot of vaccine administration guidelines from the CDC taken on February 23, 2021

AFP Fact Check previously debunked similar false claims about other world leaders receiving their Covid-19 vaccinations here and here.

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