With more than 35% of the U.S. population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of May 14, new claims have been circulating across social media that the vaccine may contain metallic or traceable properties, proven when a magnet sticks at the injection site.
The so-called “COVID magnet challenge” claims to show the small magnets sticking to the arm around the site where the vaccine was administered, but not on the arm that was not stuck with a needle.
Warning: Video contains profanity
Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain a chip or any particles that can cause a magnetic reaction?
No, the COVID-19 vaccine does not contain traceable metal big enough to be magnetic.
WHAT WE FOUND
Dr. Robert Brodell with the University of Mississippi Medical Center told the VERIFY team it would be impossible for the vaccine to contain enough magnetic properties to cause a magnet to stick to human skin.
“There are metals around us and metals in our body, but I just can’t imagine there is even a small amount of trace metal that would be in a vaccine,” he told VERIFY. “You couldn’t see it - if you hold up a vaccine you see through the vial - there just can’t be particles of metal big enough to make that happen.”
Brodell said if there was a microchip or if the vaccine contained enough metallic properties, it would cause the skin to “tent out” when you put a magnet close to it or cause the skin to physically rise toward a magnet.
For instance, if someone was working on a piece of machinery and a metal shard was expelled from the machine and embedded into the skin, a magnet could work to locate that piece of metal below the skin. The metal or “chip” would have to be sizable, he said, such as the size of a credit card chip, the chip used to locate animals or the chip used in a remote Bluetooth tracker.
Further, the FDA issued a revised COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet on May 10 that includes a list of ingredients in the Pfizer vaccine, and metal devices or ingredients were not listed.
Magnetism is also not on the list of possible side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC’s website.
THE SOURCE OF MISINFORMATION
VERIFY can trace the claim the magnet sticks at the vaccine site to a now-deleted early viral video posted May 8 from Carlos Del Valle, @cdelvallejr, an account with more than 22,000 followers. A masked woman can be seen demonstrating the magnet sticking to her arm after claiming to have received the Pfizer vaccine at that site. The video had more than 60,000 views.
VERIFY attempted to contact Del Valle to confirm the source of the footage, but had not heard back at the time of writing. It is unknown when or why the video was deleted.
Instagram account @keep_canada_free posted an edited version of the video on May 9. At the end of the video, an icon flashed proving this video is not the original, but had been screen recorded. At the time of publishing, the video had more than 24,000 views, despite having a “false information” disclaimer overlaid.
At the time of publishing, of the 10 most recent Instagram posts from @keep_canada_free, four were blurred with overlaying disclaimers alleging the spread of misinformation.
The video was posted to WorldStarHipHop, a content-aggregating blog, on May 10 and had more than 500,000 views.