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COVID-19 vaccines do not cause magnetism in bodies

June 9, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: COVID-19 vaccines have resulted in some people becoming magnetic.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that are magnetic and they will not result in a person developing magnetism.

THE FACTS: In recent weeks, videos have circulated on social media claiming that metal objects shown hanging on people’s bodies were the result of magnetism created by COVID-19 vaccines or a microchip.

A new video claims that magnetism was added to the vaccine in order to make the messenger RNA move throughout the body.

The CDC says there is no truth to these claims and that the COVID-19 vaccines are free from ingredients that could produce an electromagnetic field.

“Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm,” the agency posted on its website. “In addition, the typical dose for a COVID-19 vaccine is less than a milliliter, which is not enough to allow magnets to be attracted to your vaccination site even if the vaccine was filled with a magnetic metal.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized use of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and publicly listed the ingredients. None of the shots include any metals. A list of ingredients for the shots are made public on the CDC website. Ingredients each serve a purpose in vaccines, for example, some are used to preserve the vaccines or to improve the body’s reaction to the vaccine. Lipids in the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines are used to deliver the mRNA technology responsible for teaching the immune system how to fight off COVID-19.

The vaccines have gone through three phases of clinical trials and were tested on thousands of people to be deemed safe and effective before being distributed nationally in phases. If there was any possibility that the vaccines were magnetic, it would have been reported early on, said Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

Some social media users shared videos of magnets sticking to their bodies only to later confirm it was a joke. Videos spreading the false claim were shared with the caption “magnet challenge.”

If some videos do show metal objects stuck to a person, there could be an explanation. Dr. Christopher Gill, an infectious disease expert at the Boston University School of Public Health, said the answer could be as simple as humidity in the room or moisture.

“Back when I was in college, I had this game of sticking spoons to my face and I would just blow on it a little to get some moisture,” he said. “But clearly my face is not magnetic.”

There are other clues that the videos showing supposed magnetism are not authentic, according to Fichtenbaum.

“What’s interesting to me is I haven’t seen anybody put a compass on their arm because a compass under a magnetic field gets disrupted,” said Fichtenbaum.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536