(Art by Rae Isobel N. Tyapon/ The Varsitarian)

SHOULD you get vaccinated in the buttocks?

Last Jan. 26, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte won’t be publicly inoculated against Covid-19 because he preferred to be jabbed in the butt.

“Sabi nga niya (Duterte) dahil sa puwet siya magpapasaksak so hindi pupuwedeng public,” Roque said.

Several world leaders have elected to have their vaccinations in public to help address vaccine hesitancy.

Covid-19 vaccines such as those from Pfizer and AstraZeneca are administered through intramuscular injection (IM).

IM injections are introduced to the body via the muscular regions such as the deltoid (the main muscle of the shoulder) and vastus lateralis (muscle on the lateral side of the thigh). 

The route and entry of vaccines into the human body are dependent on the vaccine’s purpose and components. 

According to a paper published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information in Maryland, most vaccines are administered intramuscularly to optimize immune response and minimize adverse reactions in the injected site.

“Traditionally the buttocks were thought to be an appropriate site for vaccination, but the layers of fat do not contain the appropriate cells that are necessary to initiate the immune response,” it said.

Likewise, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discourages the buttocks as a vaccination site for both infants and adults to avoid risk of nerve injury.

A Global Times report also quoted Chinese vaccine expert Zhuang Shilihe as saying: “Buttock injection probably would not change the effect of the vaccine, but cause some risk of muscle abnormalities in the buttocks, affecting the appearance of the buttocks.”

Zhuang noted in the report that clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccine candidates are all conducted through upper arm injections and that no data was available to show how receiving the vaccines through rear-end injections would affect their efficacy.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Jan. 27 said that vaccines may be injected in the buttocks if an individual has thin or feeble muscles in common vaccination sites in the body.

“Kapag ang isang tao po ay hindi puwede, halimbawa iyong kaniyang deltoid area eh masyado na siyang emaciated, payat na payat na, ibinibigay natin sa ibang parte ng katawan katulad po ng ibang parte na muscular po ang tawag. Puwede po doon sa anterolateral part of the thigh or puwede din po sa puwet, nabibigay din po iyan sa upper part of the butt,” she explained.

Duterte’s camp has yet to disclose why he elected to get injected with the vaccines on his buttocks.

But if you’re a healthy Filipino, should you be like Duterte and have the vaccine injected through your buttocks? It’s safe to say that it’s better not to get caught—or in this case, vaccinated—with your pants down. K.A.L. Escarilla


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