Injecting a vaccine into a tattoo?

My boyfriend got his first shot today - yay! He told me that a heavily tattooed guy had to be put behind a screen to get the vaccine injected into his thigh because apparently they don’t vax into a tattoo. I’d never heard that before - any ideas as to why? I googled, but all that comes up is advice not to get tattooed too near vaccination day, which makes sense, but I can’t find anything about injecting into healed tattoos.

The needle they used on me went an inch or so into my arm, surely enough to clear any tattoo scaring.

Are they afraid some of the ink could be dislodged? Or maybe they think it could alter the immune response. I once read somewhere that tattoo ink has been found in lymph nodes.

Hubs had his vaccine Sat, right into his tattoo. (It’s right on his shoulder!) Not a moments hesitation or remark from the nurse. I have seen him get numerous shots there, over time.

I don’t think there is any issue.

A vaccine syringe will get well past any tattoos.

If there was any issue with tattoos I am certain those giving the jabs would be trained to deal with it. Tattoos are not uncommon on the shoulder.

My understanding is the injection is into the muscle so they are well past your skin.

Is there some uniformity – or lack of uniformity? – about how deeply they stick those needles in? I’ve heard very different stories, ranging from very deep & quite painful (as one might think, just from those pictures of long needles like @Whack-a-Mole posted above), to seemingly very shallow.

As I experienced it (and others here have remarked similarly), the shot felt no different than a regular flu shot. As far as I could tell, it didn’t feel like a deep jab.

Anecdotal but I never saw the needle (I don’t like shots so I don’t look) and it was the least painful shot I have ever gotten (I was expecting a lot worse). It was in my shoulder and I felt nothing (or near enough).

Which is to say I have no clue how big the needle was that they used or how far it went in. I never looked.

I know I got the shot. My shoulder was sore later (no biggie). But the shot itself…meh.

The expectation is that the needle gauge (thickness) is selected to be as small as possible to increase comfort while of an inner diameter large enough to not ‘traumatize’ and damage the component elements in the vaccine. The length of the needle should be selected to be long enough to deliver the vaccine into muscle tissue. In the US, in adults, that means usually the nurse is using a needle between 1 to 1-1/2 inches. On a small person or an elderly person a too long needle can hit bone on an arm and that hurts. Conversely, a larger adult or one with very well developed upper arm musculature, a 1 and 1/2 inch needle would definitely be needed to reach into the deltoid muscle. Since (I think) the Pfizer, J & J and Moderna vaccine amount varies from .3ml to .5ml, that can easily be given with the more slender 1ml capacity syringe, but many places might use another capacity syringe depending on their supply chain.

My two vaccine jabs (Pfizer .3ml) were given with a 1ml syringe and what looked like a 23gauge needle, which I barely felt. The technique of the giver can affect comfort also. I use a dart technique most often for most vaccines. Other substances call for different techniques and may feel different.

Different vaccines=different gauge needles, sometimes different length needles/type of vaccine.

Different age and size person receiving vaccine=length of needle.

A work friend of mine said that was how the person doing her (adult) son’s vaccine decided which shoulder to use, picking the non-tattooed one. My friend said she wasn’t clear on the reason for that.

When I was given the jab they asked if I was right or left handed. I am right-handed so he jabbed me in the left shoulder.

I had a sore shoulder from it but it was very minor and either shoulder would have been fine. But it made sense to be done in the non-dominant arm.

I don’t really get it either, hence the post, but here they made a “problem” out of it. I’m in Italy, not in the USA, so the protocols might be different. Italians can be super cautious about health stuff.

I’ve had a nurse say she wouldn’t give a flu vaccine in my shoulder tattoo, and I’ve had shots directly into it. I have overactive histamine reactions, and any provocation will make my tattoo become raised exactly where the ink is. So, I usually am happy to not get a shot there.

On dominant vs nondominant arm, I went with dominant, as there is sometimes advice to do that so that you keep it moving more. I’m considering switching arms for shot 2, but then I have the tattoo in the area…

Are the shots where the tattoo is into the muscle or more shallow and near the skin?

Also, does it matter what the shot is for? Vaccine or medication or pain killer or I dunno what?

I had a tough decision on that. I’m right-handed, but sleep on my left side. The pharmacist thought it best to use my right shoulder. Fine by me.

Makes sense. I noticed the evening after my vaccine was given that rolling onto that shoulder hurt a little.

I do not want to overstate it…it was not bad at all…but bad enough I rolled away from it.

If you can avoid it by switching shoulders for the shot then yeah…do that.

I think they’ve all been vaccinations. Mostly flu, could be DTP, too. I don’t think I’ve had any other kind of shot in my shoulder in a long while. I think they’ve been all intramuscular, but I couldn’t say for sure.

I’ve got tattoos on both shoulders. I always ask to have shots done in my left arm and every time they have gone right through the tattoo. Sometimes they even say they will use it as a reference point. At this point I’ve probably had close to 20 shots and no one has said anything about not going through it.

My arms are totally inked, shoulders to elbows. No mention of it for my two doses of Pfizer, never a word with influenza, etc.

In my experience, a lot of patients with tattoos object to having needles stuck in them, so many shot-givers have learned to just avoid them.

I also have a ton of tattooed patients who have refused vaccinations in general, stating: “I’m afraid of needles”.