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Debunked: No, Covid-19 vaccines do not contain graphene oxide

Claims about vaccines containing the chemical have circulated in recent months.

For Covid factchecks

A VIDEO SHARED recently on an Irish Instagram account showed a supposed pharmaceutical expert discussing a claim that Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine contains high quantities of a chemical known as graphene oxide.

The person in the video – Dr Jane Ruby – explained during an interview that researchers at the University of Almeria in Spain had received a sealed vial with Pfizer markings on it which contained the chemical.

She stated that graphene oxide made up more than 99% of the contents of the vial.

Ruby suggested that there would be no reason for the vaccine to contain this, except “to murder people”, while describing graphene oxide as a poison that “destroys literally everything inside the cell”.

She further claimed that Covid-19 symptoms mirror those caused by the chemical, and alleged that “all four of the vaccine companies in the US are filled with 99% of this toxic industrial chemical”.

However, these claims are false: there is no proof that graphene oxide exists in any Covid-19 vaccine, and a closer look at the origins of the claim shows that it relies on poor quality evidence.

Graphene oxide

Graphene oxide is a chemical that consists of carbon and oxygen atoms. When oxygen is removed from the compound, what is left is a pure carbon material called graphene, often described as a wonder material because of its strength and electronic properties.

Graphene oxide easily dissolves in water, while it also has known toxic effects on cells and organisms, but this depends on the dose used and how it is administered.

A factcheck by The Science Times said that graphene oxide can cause toxic effects depending on its dose, but that it did not cause obvious toxicity in mice exposed to low doses (0.1 mg) and middle doses (0.25 mg) in studies.

Any risk of a chemical causing harm is based on how much of it people are exposed to. 

An experimental influenza vaccine that contains graphene oxide nanoparticles has recently been reported on in a prestigious scientific journal.

These nanoparticles serve as carriers and aim to stimulate the immune system into responding to the vaccine, the authors of the scientific paper note.

However, the dose of graphene oxide in this injection is not toxic.

Nor is there any proof that people given a Covid-19 vaccine have been exposed to any graphene oxide.

The mRNA vaccines against Covid-19 rely on lipid nanoparticles (i.e. tiny, virus-sized pieces of fat) as the delivery vehicle, and not graphene oxide.

Spanish lab

Nevertheless, false claims about the use of graphene oxide in Covid-19 vaccines have begun to circulate in recent months.

The claims are based on reports about a single vial that was received by a Spanish lab on 19 June, which was labelled as the Pfizer vaccine but which is of unknown origin.

An English language version of a Spanish report about the vial, commissioned by a group of activists who are against the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, described its origin and traceability as unknown.

The report led to many claims on social media about all Covid-19 vaccines containing graphene oxide, after its author claimed that the vial – allegedly containing the Pfizer vaccine – had the chemical in it.

Dr Pablo Campra from the University of Almeria, Spain stated that this was a vial delivered by courier and that it contained 0.45 millilitres of a cloudy suspension.

After examining the contents under a microscope, he concluded that the contents looked like graphene oxide.

However, he also concluded that this was one single sample of unknown origin, and that more samples would be needed for study.

In her subsequent video, Ruby claimed that hundreds more vials were now in the lab, but Campra debunked this when asked by The Journal, saying that he had no more access to any other vials.

Campra also said that the initial sample was delivered by a policeman and dissociated himself with commentary online which suggests that graphene oxide toxicity causes the same symptoms as Covid-19.

Expert opinions

The Journal also asked other scientists about claims that Covid-19 vaccines contain graphene oxide, how this could be proved, and whether Campra’s study and Ruby’s claims stood up to scrutiny.

Dr Dimitri Scholz, Director of Niological Imaging at the Conway Institute in University College Dublin, said that the light and electron microscopy in the Campra’s small study was non-conclusive.

“Thousands of materials (and specks of direct) might look similar,” he said.

“Somebody wanted it to appear like a piece of evidence that the sample contains graphene – not sure why this should be harmful – but it does not.”

Professor Bengt Fadeel, molecular toxicologist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm in Sweden, also explained how claims that Covid-19 vaccines contain graphene is wrong.

“For starters, the vaccines would be black, which they are not,” he explained.

He strongly disagreed with Campra’s conclusion that the vial of unknown origin contained graphene.

“The author claims that the images obtained showed ‘in general high similarity with images of graphene oxide from the literature’, but I disagree: even with a vivid imagination this is not graphene,” Fadeel said.

He further added that the author did not perform a type of analysis (called Raman spectroscopy) which could prove the presence of graphene or graphene oxide.

The vial delivered to a Spanish lab of unknown origin was therefore not correctly analysed to prove that it contained graphene oxide.

Meanwhile, Graphene oxide is not listed an ingredient of the Pfizer vaccine on the website of the US Food and Drug Administration, which approves vaccines for use there.

Its absence from all Covid-19 jabs has also been noted by a number of other factchecks, including by Reuters.

Forbes also explained how any lab in the world could test Covid-19 vaccines for the supposed presence of graphene oxide if they wanted, but that no researchers are reporting its presence except for Campra.

Addressing the study and media reports about it, the University of Almeria issued a statement noting the lack of traceability in the sample of unknown origin. The university also distanced itself from Campra’s report.

There is simply no evidence to support the claim that Covid-19 vaccines contain graphene oxide.

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

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