While most people are showing off their COVID shots that have been administered in their arms, this isn’t the only spot where the vaccine can be given.

According to The New York Times, the vaccine is also approved for inoculation in the thigh for some groups of people, and consulting with a doctor may determine if you are a candidate for the shot in this area of the body.

For some people that have a condition known as lymphedema – a chronic and painful swelling in parts of the body – getting the COVID vaccine in the thigh is highly recommended, the NYT reported.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine may produce swelling in the lymph nodes at the armpit or neck region after being vaccinated as a side effect, which can mimic signs of cancer.

While a normal sign that the vaccine is working in most people, it can cause alarm for those that are at risk of lymphedema as it can cause the arms to swell more or be less effective in those that have had their lymph nodes removed because of the disorder or has lymphatic drainage issues, the Times said.

Swollen lymph nodes can also produce a scary side effect for those that have a history of breast cancer as both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can produce this side effect short-term. A thigh shot may reduce the anxiety associated with these symptoms, and prevent mammograms from displaying signs of cancer during screenings.

Women that have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are advised to wait to get their mammogram at least one month after their second dose of the shot or schedule their screening before their first doses of the injection. They can also get the shot in their thigh instead.

Finding a COVID vaccination site that offers a thigh injection of the shot may take some effort as it is not a routine inoculation. It requires disrobing and a private room for vaccination, so most mass vaccination sites most likely would not accommodate the request.

“I just advise patients to call ahead, let the vaccine clinic know or the pharmacy know that they’re asking for the vaccine in the thigh,” Cheryl Brunelle, the associate director of the Lymphedema Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston told The Times.

“I also counsel patients that if a local facility or practitioner giving the vaccine is not familiar with the thigh as an approved alternate site, the patient can share the CDC Standing Orders document that lists the thigh as an alternative site for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.”

While there is no indication as to how many people have received their COVID shot in their thigh, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it has administered over 143.7 million doses of the COVID vaccine.

The United States has administered 200 million vaccine shots
The United States has administered 200 million vaccine shots. AFP / Joseph Prezioso