4 December 2023
COVID-19Fact checkJust in case

Just in case: ‘Vaccination robot’ in this video is 3D computer graphics :)

The CGI video was originally posted on May 30, 2021 by a TikTok creator specializing in visual effects.

A Twitter video posted on Oct. 20 shows a robot walking on four legs, knocking on a door and vaccinating a person. It claims the footage depicts “automated vaccinations” by robots that “could locate subjects and perform the injection.”

At the time of writing, the video clip had around 3,200 views while the tweet had 59 likes and 49 retweets. Another tweet also shared the same clip and jokingly said, “time for your weekly booster.” It reached over 61,500 views, 2,000 likes and 278 retweets.

Although it is clear that most users didn’t take the claim seriously and responded with funny comments, Annie Lab decided to look into the video — just in case some people might think the video could be authentic.

Screen Shot of TikTok
The video was first created and posted by a VFX creator on TikTok

We are able to find the original clip made by a user named Hd Lin (VFXHD) on TikTok on May 30, 2021. Its caption reads, “Door to vaccine is convenient,” with the hashtags #funny and #vfx.

This clip was also included in some video compilations of comical footage earlier this year (for example, this Facebook video [2:02] or this one on YouTube).

VFX stands for visual effects. The term refers to the creation or manipulation of imagery not captured during a live-action shot.

Hd Lin, who is also active on Instagram and Douyin (Chinese version of TikTok) posts lots of digitally-created videos.

On TikTok, the user has over 2.5 million followers and 29.3 million likes. Robots similar to the one seen in the tweeted video are also common features in his content.

Hd Lin has also uploaded several behind-the-scenes footages, comparing pre-processed clips with the finished VFX videos.

Comparison Between Original Scene and After Effect Scene
The footage on the left shows the original video, while the footage on the right shows the VFX effects added in post-production.

Real robots used in the medical field

The “vaccination robot” in the TikTok video has a great resemblance to the cheetah robot developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which was modified and deployed in a hospital in the United States to measure the vital signs of patients.

Robotic arms were deployed in China and Denmark to minimize human contact during swab tests.

According to a China Epidemic Prevention Robot Development Report by Qianzhan Industrial Research Institute, robots have also been manufactured by private Chinese companies to aid in temperature measurement and disinfection.

Reportedly an Indian hospital has been using robots to take patients’ temperature while in Egypt, a mechatronics engineer created a robot that can carry out cardiac ultrasounds, blood tests and X-rays.

The World Health Organization says the Kanyinya COVID-19 Treatment Centre in Rwanda uses robots for patient screening and medication deliveries.

In 2020, Thai researchers developed the “AutoVacc” robotic system to increase the efficiency of vaccine production, according to Reuters.