What is this thing on the vaccine syringes?

My neighbor and I, who watch the news on TV together a lot, have been wondering what this thing is on the covid vaccine syringes. It’s the orange thingy in this pic:

Here’s another pic that seems to show the same thing in a different position: (Sorry, it won’t display here. You’ll just have to click on it to see it.)


It’s a safety syringe. The orange thing is a cap that deploys for needlestick prevention after the syringe is used.

For example:

So, it’s a sort of flip-top cap that flips up over the business end after the shot’s been given?

Does it also cover the needle before the shot is given? The first picture above seems to show a separate cover over the needle.

My understanding is that it is for use only after the needle is used. Some flip into place, others slide using a folding mechanism. I think there are reasons to not use the same thing to cover the needle before and after use. The needle is capped because it comes that way as part of keeping it sterile.

When I was looking for a cite just now, I learned that the syringes often have a reuse prevention mechanism built in as well that sort of sabotages the syringe.

I can tell you, as a diabetic, the only time I’ve gotten a needlestick is putting the needle cap back on.
(More often than not it’s because the needle went through the cap.)

Aha. Iggorance fought.

I didn’t know it was a “safety syringe” therefore I wouldn’t have known what key words to google for, until reading @eschrodinger’s post. Now, knowing that, I googled and saw all sorts of stuff on the subject. Thanks.

The safety cap, deployed after the syringe is used, enables the user to cover the syringe one-handed and drastically reduces the chance of needle sticks.

Exactly – it prevents the situation described by crowmanyclouds, of having to thread the needle back into the cover, which means putting a hand in front of the exposed needle and thrusting in its direction.

Video demonstration.

It also reduces the chance of later needlesticks while handling the disposal units.

I’m appalled at that description. I would have said that it minimizes the amount of time the needle is exposed between injection and safe disposal. Because (around here) recapping a needle has been bad practice and not done for the last 40 years.

When I got my second vaccination I asked the nurse who’d poked me what gauge the needle was because I’d noticed on the first one it looked pretty tiny. “Gee, I don’t know,” she replied and showed how it disappeared after use. She guessed it was a 25.

The syringes were also filled by the time she got them. I don’t know if they were prefilled by Pfizer or by a team preparing them and handing them off to the ones in the pavillions doing the dirty work.

Both having prefills and not worrying about handling sharps has to be a boon when you’re working in a parking lot.

Does both, surely – and I know when I worked with sharps back in the mid-80s we never ever recapped either.

They would not have been refilled by Pfizer. That vaccine is shipped in vials and the vaccine is reconstituted by a pharmacist and it must be injected within a few hours of being reconstituted. In most cases a nurse or tech was on site drawing up each dose out of a vial, labeling the syringes which would then be walked immediately over to another nurse who in a strictly tracked and monitored span of time injected it. At each Pfizer site they very carefully watch and do not reconstitute and prefill syringes too far ahead time wise or else they might need to be discarded.

I volunteered at a clinic yesterday, and @BippityBoppityBoo is right. Someone onsite was reconstituting and drawing up the vaccine doses. Prepared syringes were delivered to the vaccinators as needed. During the busiest time, 10-12 would get dropped off regularly. Then as we got closer to closing up we’d have to say how many we needed based on how many were in our line, and we’d get just that many dropped off.