As the highly transmissible omicron COVID-19 variant spread across the world and pushed the U.S. to record new case levels, so did misinformation surrounding recommended vaccines and their rumored side effects.
One such claim sent to Snopes by our readers asserted that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are prohibited from receiving any type of anesthesia. Even local or dental anesthetics, the rumor said, poses “a great hazard” and may cause a fully vaccinated person to “die immediately.”
?? Warnings and alerts ?? Anyone who has been vaccinated against the coronavirus is prohibited from using any type of anesthetic, even local anesthetics or dental anesthetics, because this poses a great hazard to the life of the vaccinated person, and is very dangerous, and may die immediately. Therefore, the vaccinated person must wait 4 weeks after the vaccination. If he is infected and recovers, he can only use anesthetics 4 weeks after recovering from the coronavirus infection. A friend's relative was vaccinated two days ago. He went to the dentist yesterday and died after being given anesthesia! After reading the warning about the coronavirus vaccine, on the vaccine box, we found that after the coronavirus vaccine was given, there was a warning not to use anesthetics! Please spread this information to protect your family, relatives, friends and everyone.
We've searched and found that at least one Facebook post promulgating this rumor dated back to June 14, 2021. In it, the poster falsely claimed that a vaccinated person “must wait 4 weeks after being vaccinated.”
There is no truth to this claim and the text included in the post is a classic case of what is known as copypasta. As we have previously reported, copypasta is a portmanteau of “copy” and “paste,” a means by which internet users unwittingly or wittingly perpetuate false information by copying and pasting unverified claims and passing them along to others. Copypasta is often identified by vague content surrounding unfounded claims that lack a specific source, and may take the form of a fear-inducing account of an unnamed individual's (alleged) personal experience. (Learn more about the phenomenon by exploring the dedicated Snopes copypasta collection.)
In March 2021, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) wrote that there was no evidence that either COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccines interfere with anesthesia. But there are some concerns that should be noted. Because surgery is stressful on the body and can strain the immune system, the ASA added that surgery patients should wait until they are fully immunized after vaccination before proceeding with surgery. If a person has been vaccinated, the ASA added that surgery should be scheduled at least two weeks after the final dose is administered to ensure that a person is fully protected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains that neither surgery nor anesthesia following full COVID-19 vaccination is considered to be a health concern. though patients should discuss vaccines with healthcare providers. “If you are planning to have a medical procedure or screening, ask your doctor about how and when to get a COVID-19 vaccine before your procedure or screening to help protect yourself and others,” says the agency.
Montana resident Ginger Hamilton is one example of a person who was fully vaccinated, as well as boosted. In December, the 75-year-old underwent a full right hip replacement, which requires anesthesia, following full vaccination and a booster. Because of her age and preexisting medical condition, Hamilton qualified to receive the first of her Comirnaty two-dose vaccine (then called Pfizer-BionNTech) on Jan. 31, 2021. She received a Comirnaty vaccine booster on Sept. 25 — nearly two months to the day before receiving a full hip replacement surgery on Nov. 22, 2021. As part of her surgery, Hamilton was required to go under full anesthesia.
“I did go through anesthesia — total knockout — and a spinal block, so I was gone,” Hamilton sold Snopes. “I was vaccinated and boosted, so I’ve had three. I came out of that [surgery] with flying colors.”
A spinal block is a type of regional anesthesia that numbs the lower half of your body, notes the Mayo Clinic. General anesthesia, on the other hand, affects the entire body and acts on the brain and nervous system to render a person temporarily unconscious, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
As for Hamilton, she plans to have her left hip replaced in March 2022.
“Then I’ll be back to doing my kayaking and hiking and all that good stuff!” she said.
Curious about how Snopes' writers verify information and craft their stories for public consumption? We've collected some posts that help explain how we do what we do. Happy reading and let us know what else you might be interested in knowing.
ACIP Contraindications Guidelines for Immunization | CDC. 9 Dec. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/general-recs/contraindications.html.
Additional Instructions for Preparing for Your Surgery during COVID-19. OHSU Hospital, 4 Jan. 2022, https://www.ohsu.edu/sites/default/files/2021-10/OHSU-Preparing-for-Surgery-during-COVID19-English-Oct22-2021.pdf.
Anesthesia for Hip and Knee Surgery - OrthoInfo - AAOS. https://www.orthoinfo.org/en/treatment/anesthesia-for-hip-and-knee-surgery/. Accessed 4 Jan. 2022.
CDC. “COVID-19 Vaccination.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 Feb. 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/other-procedures.html.
“Copypasta.” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/collections/copypasta/. Accessed 4 Jan. 2022.
Covid: What You Need to Know Before Your Surgical Appointment | Columbia Surgery. https://columbiasurgery.org/news/here-s-what-you-need-know-your-surgical-appointment. Accessed 4 Jan. 2022.
COVID-19 Has Changed Surgery Forever. https://www.asahq.org/about-asa/newsroom/news-releases/2021/03/covid-19-has-changed-surgery-forever. Accessed 4 Jan. 2022.
DelhiJune 15, Chayan Kundu New, et al. “Fact Check: You Can Sleep through This Viral Claim Saying Anaesthetics Can Kill Vaccinated People.” India Today, https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/fact-check-sleep-viral-claim-anaesthetics-vaccinated-people-1815191-2021-06-15. Accessed 4 Jan. 2022.
Guay, Joanne, et al. “Nerve Blocks or No Nerve Blocks for Pain Control after Elective Hip Replacement (Arthroplasty) Surgery in Adults.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, edited by Cochrane Anaesthesia Group, vol. 2017, no. 10, Oct. 2017. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD011608.pub2.
“New COVID-19 Cases in US Soar to Highest Levels on Record.” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/ap/2021/12/29/new-covid-19-cases-in-us-soar-to-highest-levels-on-record/. Accessed 4 Jan. 2022.
“What Is Copypasta?” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/articles/369246/what-is-copypasta/. Accessed 4 Jan. 2022.
“WHO: Global COVID Cases Up 11% Last Week, Omicron Risk High.” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/ap/2021/12/29/who-global-covid-cases-up-11-last-week-omicron-risk-high/. Accessed 4 Jan. 2022.