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Why COVID Vaccine Is Given On Upper Arm? Let’s Find Out

Have you ever thought why covid vaccine is given only on upper arm? Let us find out the reason from doctor.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Apr 18, 2022Updated at: Apr 18, 2022
Why COVID Vaccine Is Given On Upper Arm? Let’s Find Out

Nearly 80% of the total Indian population has got fully vaccinated against coronavirus. Booster doses are also being administered to a specific set to secure them against the deadly virus and its mutations. While you went for vaccination twice, did you notice that the injection is given on the upper arm specifically and not anywhere else? We were keen to know the reason behind this and so we reached out to Dr. Shrey Srivastav, Senior Resident- Internal Medicine at Sharda Hospital, Greater Noida. If you are also curious to know why is covid vaccine given in arms, read the entire article.

Why COVID Vaccine Is Given on Upper Arm?

Dr. Srivastav quotes, "Covid-19 vaccines are most effective when injected via an intramuscular route into the upper arm called the deltoid muscle. Layers between the muscle and skin are the thinnest around the deltoid muscle. Muscles have a rich blood supply, which means that a vaccine that carries an antigen is injected into it and the muscle releases the antigen that gets dispersed by the blood vessels in the muscle. Muscles have immune cells and these antigens are then picked by a type of immune cell called dendritic cells. The antigen is carried by the dendritic cells through the lymphatic fluid to the lymph node. Lymph nodes contain more immune cells that recognize antigens in vaccines and initiate the immune process of antibody production. Upper arm (deltoid) muscle is very easy accessible site and very rich in blood supply and this optimizes the ability of the vaccine to increase an immune response and minimizes adverse reactions at the injection site."

Why Covid vaccine is given on upper arm

In simpler language, the vaccine dose in administered to a muscle but why covid vaccine is given in muscle? As explained by the doctor, muscles offer a rich blood supply and when a vaccine is injected to the muscle, it is spread across the body. The antigens of the vaccine are circulated throughout which initiates antibody response whenever a pathogen enters.

Also Read: 10 Vaccine Preventable Diseases You Must Not Neglect For Children

Since coronavirus enters the body through various passages, it is important that the antigens injected through vaccine are spread across. This prevents a person from developing serious complications due to covid-19 infection.

Reduced Risk of Reaction After Vaccination

Along with improved immunity response, administering vaccine on upper arm also ensures lesser chances of reaction after vaccination. This is an intramuscular vaccine that increases production of antibodies in the body. If the vaccine is given anywhere else, it might cause acute pain that may persist for days followed by other complications like vomiting, and inflammation. Besides, if the vaccine dose is not injected in the designated muscle, the antigens won’t be able to circulate and you may not get the benefits.

Also Read: When Can Women Take COVID Vaccine After Delivery? Answers Expert

Why Covid vaccine is given on upper arm

Can vaccine be given other than arms?

Adults receive vaccine on arms but many times, kids are given vaccine on thighs. The reason is that muscle size of their arms is comparatively small which can hamper the distribution of antigens to the body. This is why kids below three years are injected on thighs.

We can also take another factor into consideration that covid vaccine is given in open spaces and rolling up sleeves to receive vaccine is a viable option that rolling up cloth on your legs. Acceptability and convenience also matter when vaccination mass population under one roof.

Image credits- freepik