Pain from intramuscular COVID-19 vaccine ‘varies by individual’: Japan gov’t spokesperson


mainichi– The government’s chief spokesperson has demurred on saying whether coronavirus vaccines will be painful when responding to journalists’ questions on Jan. 29 about the way the jabs are administered, which differs from typical procedure in Japan.

Inoculations for the coronavirus are expected to be intramuscular injections, in which the needle is inserted at an around 90 degree angle deep enough to reach muscle. This differs from commonly used subcutaneous injections, in which the needle is inserted into the skin from a shallow angle.

On being asked what the difference in pain is between an intramuscular injection and a subcutaneous injection, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said during a Jan. 29 news conference, “It’s difficult to say categorically, as it varies by individual.”

In Japan, subcutaneous injections have been performed as a general rule since the 1970s, when many children were diagnosed with quadriceps contracture after receiving intramuscular injections, which is believed to be more painful than the former.

As many shots including flu vaccinations are administered by subcutaneous injection, some have taken to social media to post comments such as: “It’s scary; I’ve never had an intramuscular injection.”

Kato explained that the new coronavirus vaccinations “are administered by intramuscular injections abroad, and the application already submitted (to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare for pharmaceutical approval) is based on intramuscular injections.”

Regarding side effects following vaccination, Kato said, “We’ll thoroughly collect information, including how often slight adverse reactions occur, and respond swiftly if there are side effects.”

He also added, “By disclosing information (about side effects and other issues) and providing explanations that are easy to understand, we want to create an environment where the people feel safe being vaccinated.”