What if it never comes

Why are vaccinations mostly in the buttocks or upper arms?

Dear Dr. Mo!
When I recently had the tetanus vaccination, I was given an injection in the upper arm. But I still remember exactly that my butt was pierced as a child. Why is it different today? And do you even have to inject? Can't you just drink the vaccine?
Greetings, Vera

Dear Vera,

There are strong muscles in both the upper arm and the buttocks. And that's what counts for a vaccination. The muscles have fine blood vessels through which the vaccine can slowly get into the blood. This allows the body to react to the vaccine, which contains weakened or killed pathogens.

The body then makes antibodies called antibodies. Because that is exactly the goal of a vaccination. The antibodies formed are supposed to protect against illness with the respective pathogen. However, one should absolutely avoid injecting vaccines directly into a blood vessel. When that happens, it can lead to severe intolerance.

Now to your first question: In fact, injections are not given in the buttocks today, but in the upper arm. There is often a thick layer of fat over the gluteal muscle. It could happen that the syringe does not even reach the muscle. The vaccine then ends up in the fat layer, which has a significantly poorer blood supply. This means that the vaccine cannot develop its actual effect. A safe vaccination protection cannot be achieved in this way.

In addition, there are large nerve tracts in the gluteal muscle. If the doctor accidentally stabs it, it can be quite painful. As a rule, the fat layer on the upper arm is much less developed and the vaccination site on the upper arm is considered safe. The risk of injuring larger vessels or nerve cords is much smaller than on the buttocks. That's why people prefer to inject into the upper arm muscle today.

Now to your second question: the vast majority of vaccines should be injected into a muscle. Unfortunately, you cannot drink this vaccine because many vaccines contain protein and sugar. If you swallow them, they end up in your stomach, are digested and excreted fairly quickly - before they can even get into the bloodstream. So you can't get past the syringe. But you don't need to be afraid. If you hold your arm loosely and relax the muscle, the injection hardly hurts.
Best wishes,
Dr. Mon