Experts Debunk Viral Claim that COVID-19 Vaccines Contain Magnets

Videos suggesting that COVID-19 vaccines contain magnetic substances have emerged on social media. In many of these videos which have gone viral, people who claim they have taken the vaccines are spotted sticking magnets to their arms.

In one of such video posts, a woman claimed her arm had a magnetic reaction after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. She demonstrated this by putting a magnet on the spot where she purportedly received the shot and showing that it stuck to her arm. When she did the same thing to her other arm the magnet fell off. At the end of the video, the woman warned against getting the vaccine, shouting: “We’re chipped.”

Many videos have surfaced reiterating the same claim as the woman made on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok in different languages.

In response to the latest ‘magnet challenge’, medical experts, say the videos are nothing more than a conspiracy theory typical of the disinformation about the novel coronavirus.

Dr Stephen Schrantz, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Chicago Medicine, says “There is absolutely no way that a vaccine can lead to the reaction shown in these videos posted to Instagram and/or YouTube. It is better explained by 2-sided tape on the metal disk being applied to the skin rather than a magnetic reaction.”

A vaccine researcher and professor of cell and developmental biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr Thomas Hope, has said that it is impossible.

“There’s nothing there that a magnet can interact with, it’s protein and lipids, salts, water, and chemicals that maintain the pH. That’s basically it, so this is not possible,” Dr. Hope told Boom, a fact-check media in India reports.

British-American science writer, Mick West, published a video on Metabunk.org, a website dedicated to debunking pseudoscience, calling the claims “a new twist on an old carnival trick.” He demonstrated that magnets, coins, or other smooth objects will stick to various body parts, including the nose, if one’s skin is slightly oily.” Remove the oil and the object will not stick, he explains to AFP

However, according to health authorities in the US and Canada, none of the available COVID-19 vaccinations (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or AstraZeneca) list any metal-based ingredients.

Lists of the ingredients in all the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are publicly available.

The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna contain mRNA, lipids, salts, sugar, and substances that keep the pH stable. The COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson contains an adenovirus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, amino acids, antioxidants, ethanol, an emulsifier, sugar, and salts. None of these ingredients are metals, and therefore, none of them are magnetic.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine contains similar ingredients to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine but includes magnesium chloride as a preservative. Although magnesium is a metal, it is also non-magnetic, both in its elemental form and as magnesium chloride salt. In fact, higher amounts of magnesium are naturally present in the body, in many foods, and in dietary supplements, and they don’t cause magnetic reactions in people.

Furthermore, the volume of a COVID-19 vaccine dose is very small, ranging from 0.3 ml in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 0.5 ml in the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

According to experts, even if the vaccines contained a magnetic ingredient, the total amount would be insufficient to hold a magnet through a person’s skin. Michael Coey, a physics professor at Trinity College Dublin, explained to Reuters.

Thus said, it is completely False. Vaccinated individuals cannot experience magnetism at the injection site. Experts have confirmed.

This report is produced under the project: COVID-19 Response in Africa: Together for Reliable Information being implemented with funding support from the European Union

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