You may have watched one of these videos online of someone allegedly magnetized or microchipped by their COVID-19 vaccination.
Some videos show people sticking various metal objects on their bodies, such as spoons, button batteries, or keys, to show that the person is magnetized. Other videos show magnetic disks stuck to a person’s arm to reinforce their claim that a microchip is under the skin. Although funny, there is nothing factual about their claims.
For at least a century, pranksters have shown themselves to be “human magnets” by sticking various metallic objects on their skin.
Many have been discredited by various techniques. One approach showed that it could not be magnetism, as smooth non-metallic objects made of wood or porcelain would also stick. Others were disproved when compasses, which detect Earth’s weak magnetic field, failed to find the magnetic fields surrounding these so-called “human magnets.”
James Randi, the famous skeptic, has shown that it is not magnetism but rather sticky skin that gives a trickster his “incredible powers” because a thin layer of talcum powder prevents objects from sticking.
There is no scientific justification for COVID-19 vaccines to magnetize people. None of the vaccines contain metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt, lithium, or rare earth alloys. They also do not contain microelectronics, microchips, semiconductor nanowires or carbon nanotubes.
The sad thing is that there are people who spread such myths and there are others who believe them. Sadder still, some believers refused the vaccine and died from COVID-19.
A doctor, known for his anti-vaccine activism, testified before Ohio lawmakers, saying COVID-19 vaccines, in concert with the 5G mobile phone network, are magnetizing people as videos on the internet show.
She was testifying in favor of the Vaccine Choice and Anti-Discrimination Act, which would ban in Ohio any mandatory vaccination requirements against COVID-19 and prohibit asking for information about an individual’s vaccination status. The doctor’s testimony did not work, as his claims about magnetism-inducing vaccines were ridiculed and the law lacks support to move forward in its current form.
While it is easy to see through such outlandish claims about magnetism and microchips, other claims are not so easily dismissed. For example, rumors that vaccines cause female infertility and drop male sperm counts are widely circulating (FYI: vaccines don’t cause either.)
It is important to turn to reliable sources such as the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and universities when evaluating such claims. For the most part, social media is an unreliable source of factual information as it is largely filled with lies and rumors. People should stay away from sources that attack vaccines at all levels because they often present incomplete information, are based on hearsay, and lack rigorous scientific studies.
Finally, beware of scientists, researchers and isolated doctors who make statements contrary to the majority in their profession. He or she may be a true crusader for the truth or may be just another nutcase. A good idea is to ask your own healthcare professional.
Smart vaccines is written by faculty members of the Sealy Institute for Vaccine Sciences, Drs. Megan berman, associate professor of internal medicine, and Richard rupp, professor of pediatrics in the medical branch of the University of Texas. For questions about vaccines, email [email protected]