On a regular vaccination, I've been handled by an unprofessional staff, who ( while preparing the injection needle) touched her hands 2 times to the injection needle (staff wore the gloves, but they were for sure non-sterile, due the fact that she was touching visitor's stuff with same gloves).

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So, I have a generic medical question - what are the possible/worst risks associated when a person is shot with non-sterile (contaminated) injection needle, and what should be done by the victim after that fact?

  • 4
    She actually touched the needle itself? Not the plastic hub, but the metal part of the needle? I would refuse the injection in that scenario and demand that she replace the needle with a new, sterile one. She's not going to argue with you because she knows her supervisor will agree with you.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Sep 11, 2021 at 22:57
  • @CareyGregory Yes, that was case - the metal part (yeah,I live in a mid-developing country...) Unfortunately, I was too late to tell her to stop, because I was so surprised, before I realized that and believed my eyes, she already pulled the needle inside my arm. Moreover, even after that I said about it, and she & other colleagues attacked me that "they have experience and know medicine more than me". I left the clinic very angry and will always warn everyone about that place and such personnel.
    – T.Todua
    Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


This isn't an exhaustive list, but a non-sterile puncture is

The spores can get into the body through broken skin, usually through injuries from contaminated objects. Tetanus bacteria are more likely to infect certain breaks in the skin. These include:

Wounds contaminated with dirt, poop (feces), or spit (saliva) Wounds caused by an object puncturing the skin (puncture wounds), like a nail or needle.

Tetanus bacteria can also infect the body through breaks in the skin caused by [...] Intramuscular injections (shots given in a muscle)

  • if the needle was actually used on someone else... a substantially wider spectrum of risks exist of various blood-borne illness. Most of those probably aren't much risk via fomites, i.e. merely touching the needle, but hepatitis is not something I'd totally [exclude]as the virus[es] causing these can transmit through other bodily fluids and in some experimental settings can persist a surprisingly long time even in dried state.
  • 3
    IMHO the most likely complication is an injection abscess by some facultative pathogenic cutaneous germs like Staph. aureus and the likes, examplary case report
    – Narusan
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 23:08
  • 1
    I would think monitoring the injection site for signs of infection it’s probably worth mentioning. And while it’s far from best practices, and worth rejecting injection from a non-sterile needle, it’s also probably not particularly high risk either way with an antibiotic solution likely available for the most common complications—which are probably less than a 50-50 shot of occurring in the first place.
    – Atl LED
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 3:51
  • @Narusan thanks for comment. Can you please turn that into answer? makes sense.
    – T.Todua
    Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 17:05
  • @t.todua I think that it’s more a clarification/continuation on Fizz’s already correct/solid answer, not really a stand-alone answer.
    – Atl LED
    Commented Sep 27, 2021 at 16:54

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