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FactCheck: No, a Covid-19 vaccine will not make your arm magnetic

The claim has been shared widely online.
Jul 6th 2021, 6:30 PM 35,120 0

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VIDEOS HAVE BEEN shared online in recent months which show people saying they were able to stick magnets to the site of their Covid-19 vaccination.

In the videos, which have been shared across social media sites, people have been seen placing fridge magnets and other metal items on their arms, and claiming they are sticking to them through magnetism.

The claim

That the injection site after a Covid-19 vaccine becomes magnetic. 

The evidence

In the videos that have been shared online, people are shown putting magnetic items on their skin, claiming that they have stuck to their Covid-19 injection site. 

Firstly, the PfizerJanssenModerna and AstraZeneca vaccines do not contain metallic ingredients.

America’s Center for Disease Control say that magnetism is not possible. It explained:

Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt, lithium, and rare earth alloys, as well as any manufactured products such as microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes, and nanowire semiconductors. 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 France 24 show ‘Observers’ spoke to Jean-Michel Dogné, head of the pharmacy department at the University of Namur, after a video of a woman whose mobile phone was able to stick to the injection site on her arm went viral in June. 

Dogné had examined her arm to see if there was something magnetic there following her Covid-19 injection. 

The same researcher also examined other people in Belgium who claimed they experienced magnetism in their arms after receiving the vaccine. 

During the examination, he said they used two devices: one that measures a magnetic field and how it fluctuates (without quantifying it), and another that measures how much electromagnetic induction (or magnetic field) there is. 

The results were “completely negative, meaning there was no magnetism around where the arm was injected,” he said. They also removed any stickiness from the individuals’ arms using magnesium sulphate (which is found in talcum powder) and after that, found that the people who had reported stickiness lost all stickiness on their arm. 

Dogné said the woman in the video lost the sticky quality on her arm once it was treated with magnesium sulphate.

In relation to why a person’s arm might be sticky at the injection site Dogné said that your arm can become sticky due to local inflammation, which could make the site secrete water or sebum. 

Eric Palm, of the UK National High Magnetic Field Laboratory also spoke to the BBC about the viral claims. He said, ”There’s really no physical reason [for magnetism] – the vaccine needles are extremely small, a fraction of a millimetre in size, so even if you injected an extremely magnetic particle it would be so small in size that there wouldn’t be enough force on it to actually keep a magnet stuck to your skin.”

He added:

“And secondly you can easily get a coin to stick to your skin, we’ve all done that as children, sticking coins to our forehead because of the surface oils, surface tension associated with that…”

He said that additionally, someone could be using ‘trickery’ like band-aid residue to make an item stick to their arm. 

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Verdict 

These posts shared online are not evidence of a magnetic reaction at the Covid-19 vaccination injection site. The vaccines do not contain metals, and experts who have tested people claiming to have ‘magnetic’ arms found that once the arms were treated with talcum powder, to remove any possible residue, they lost stickiness. 

Experts also say that COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. 

The claim that a Covid-19 vaccine will make your arm magnetic is: FALSE 

As per our guide, this means: The claim is inaccurate. 

The Journal’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here

Have you gotten a message on WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter that you’re not sure about and want us to check it out? Message or mail us and we’ll look into debunking it. WhatsApp: 085 221 4696 or Email: answers@thejournal.ie

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Aoife Barry

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