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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau wave after arriving at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 29, 2018 (AP) Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau wave after arriving at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 29, 2018 (AP)

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau wave after arriving at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 29, 2018 (AP)

Gabrielle Settles
By Gabrielle Settles September 24, 2021

The Trudeaus got their COVID-19 shots, despite claims to the contrary

If Your Time is short

  • A Reuters photo shows a close up view of the needle going into the prime minister’s arm. 

  • The narrator of the Facebook video claims that it is a "red flag" that the healthcare worker used one hand to deliver the vaccine. Traditionally, intramuscular vaccines such as the COVID-19 vaccine are administered with two hands, but that does not in itself mean that the shot was a performance.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie took their first doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on April 23 at a Rexall pharmacy on live television. Trudeau rolled up his sleeve, reached over to his wife and asked, "Will you hold my hand?" The pharmacist injected the dose through the skin of his left arm, at the site of his upper-arm tattoo. As she administers the shot, cameras can be heard clicking in the background.

But a woman claiming to be a registered nurse said the Trudeaus’ shots were fake. 

In a video shared across Facebook and on Rumble, the woman offered several reasons that the Trudeaus’ shots were "obviously fake," including that the worker administering the shots used only one hand.

"Nobody does that. You don’t give IM injections that way," she said, using shorthand for intramuscular. She also suggested that perhaps the needle used was "a retractable needle."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

While healthcare workers are trained to use two hands when delivering injections, use of one hand does not indicate a vaccine was faked. Additionally, retractable needles are used to help protect patients and health care workers from injury but they are still effective in delivering vaccines.

"The video with the Trudeaus is not a demonstration of the technique we use to train pharmacy personnel for immunizations, but it also does not necessarily disprove that the Trudeaus were vaccinated," a spokesperson for the American Pharmacists Association told PolitiFact. 

PolitiFact also reached out to the Canadian Pharmacists Association, the Canada Nurses Association and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario. We’ll update the article if we hear back.

Typically, an intramuscular injection like the COVID-19 vaccine is administered with two hands — one hand is used to find the deltoid muscle while the other hand injects the shot into the muscle. The Canadian government’s Canadian Immunization Practices guidelines states that the skin on the arm "should be stretched flat (between thumb and forefinger) at the time of administration." 

Despite the worker only using one hand, a close-up photo of the prime minister’s injection taken by photojournalist Blair Gable for Reuters shows that the needle went into the deltoid area of his arm.

The woman narrating the video offered a news report from NBC 6 South Florida as evidence that medical workers give the COVID-19 vaccine with two hands rather than one. But that newscast was actually highlighting examples of the wrong way to give a vaccine. Many of the medical workers shown in the report were pinching and raising the skin while injecting the needles. During that report, neurologist Dr. Thomas Pitts told NBC 6 that this could lead the vaccine to go into a layer of fat and lose its effectiveness instead of being injected into the deltoid muscle.

The narrator also said that the healthcare worker didn’t aspirate the injections for the Trudeaus, which means to pull back on the syringe plunger after inserting the needle into the arm to make sure the needle hasn’t punctured a blood vessel.

According to the Immunization Action Coalition, which creates educational materials about vaccines for healthcare workers and the public in order to increase vaccine rates, aspirating is not necessary during an intramuscular injection. 

Finally, the woman said the final tell was the Trudeaus’ bad acting. In particular, the woman said Trudeau didn’t hold his wife’s hand while he was getting his shot. 

However, videos and photos show that this is false. When he tried to return the favor, Sophie Trudeau batted his hand away. She didn’t wait for a bandage after getting her vaccination, like the video points out — but that still doesn’t mean that she didn’t get vaccinated.

Justin Trudeau returned to the same pharmacy on July 2 to get his second shot, this time the Moderna vaccine. The pharmacist used the same technique as before with only one hand. 

PolitiFact reached out several times to the Canadian prime minister’s office, but did not receive a response for comment. 


Our ruling

A video recorded by a woman describing herself as a registered nurse claims that Justin and Sophie Trudeau faked their COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Although the technique used to give their vaccines is not common in the U.S., that doesn’t prove that the shots were fake. A close-up photo of Justin Trudeau’s vaccination shows the needle going into his arm. 

We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

Global News, Trudeau, wife Sophie receive 1st dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, April 23, 2021

Facebook post, Sept. 19, 2021

Rumble, Certified nurse confirms Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie faked vaccination on live tv, Sept. 16, 2021

PolitiFact, A nurse didn’t pretend to vaccinate Anthony Hopkins. Video shows excess liquid after dose was given, March 10, 2021

Reuters, Canadian PM Turdeau receives first dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, April 23, 2021

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vaccine Administration: Intramuscular (IM) Injection Adults 19 years of age and older, accessed Sept. 22, 2021

Government of Canada, Vaccine administration practices: Canadian Immunization Guide, accessed Sept. 24, 2021

National Library of Medicine, Aspiration in injections: should we continue or abandon the practice? Mar. 1, 2021

Immunization Action Coalition, How to Administer Intramuscular and Subcutaneous Vaccine Injections, accessed Sept. 22, 2021

Global News on YouTube, Trudeau, wife Sophie receive 1st dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, April 23 ,2021

iHeart Radio, Justin Trudeau and wife receive AstraZeneca vaccine today, April 23, 2021

Email interview with American Pharmacists Association spokesperson, Sept. 22, 2021

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More by Gabrielle Settles

The Trudeaus got their COVID-19 shots, despite claims to the contrary

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