To aspirate or not to aspirate? Considerations for the COVID-19 vaccines

Pharmacol Rep. 2022 Dec;74(6):1223-1227. doi: 10.1007/s43440-022-00361-4. Epub 2022 Mar 23.


Syringe aspiration when vaccinating intramuscularly was not recommended before the pandemic due to the lack of conclusive evidence that it provides any benefit. However, in vivo evidence suggests that intravenous injection of mRNA vaccine can potentially lead to myocarditis, while introducing adenoviral vector to bloodstream can possibly result in thrombocytopenia and coagulopathy. These rare reactions were recorded in humans following the administration of the COVID-19 vaccines. Although the syringe aspiration may increase the level of pain at the injection site, it represents a simple technique to decrease the risk of vaccine introduction into the vascular system and potentially decrease the risk of severe reactions to mRNA and adenoviral vaccines. We are of the opinion that this cannot be disregarded if one considers that the COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be administrated globally in the form of initial and booster doses. Therefore, the aspiration when giving mRNA and adenoviral vaccines appears to be fully in line with the precautionary principle.

Keywords: Acute side effects; Massive vaccination; Myocarditis; Pandemic; SARS-CoV-2; Thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Vaccines / adverse effects
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Myocarditis*
  • Pandemics
  • RNA, Messenger


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • RNA, Messenger