COVID vaccine

‘These Are False': Chicago's Top Doc Debunks Viral Vaccine Magnet Social Media Videos

NBC Washington

No, COVID vaccines will not make you magnetic, according to Chicago's top doctor.

Responding to social media videos showing people with keys, quarters or magnets sticking to their vaccinated arms, particularly on TikTok, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said "there is nothing magnetic in the vaccine."

"We've talked about what is in these vaccines, there's really very little," she said during a Facebook Live Thursday. "There's the instructions to teach your immune system how to fight off COVID and then there's a little bit of a fat layer to help make sure that that's protected. There's a little bit of salt and sugar to make sure it's at the right pH and it works with your body, and that is it. So, these are false."

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Arwady said the social media challenge started circulating as part of "recent myths" on the Internet related to "misinformation that there is a chip or something that is tracking in some way" inside the vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also debunked the myth on its website.

"Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm," the CDC's website reads. "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."

Here's a complete list of ingredients in the COVID vaccine, according to the CDC.

Some have taken to social media to debunk the claims themselves, with several TikTok users, including doctors, trying the challenge and failing.

@doctorjesss

Fact or cap? This vaccine magnet thing is CAP 🧢 #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner

♬ original sound - Doctor Jess Andrade

So why are some people able to take these social media videos?

"It's certainly possible, you know, if you put your arm just right and you, you know, put a little bit of this here, but try it yourself and you will see that there is nothing magnetic in anybody who has been vaccinated," Arwady said. "If I had a magnet right now I'd put it on my own arm and show you that."

According to Jamie Alan, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University, putting moisture or even licking a magnet can help it stick to you.

"My guess is that the magnets are sticking to body oils or sweat and that people are balancing them," she said.

Alan called the challenge "smoke and mirrors."

According to the Meedan Health Desk, a team of public health experts who fact-check medical claims, "we are all, however, a little bit magnetic."

"The human body contains a tiny quantity of iron (which is a magnetic metal). That iron can actually repel magnets when it mixes with the oxygen molecules in our systems," the site states. "Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans rely on our body's magnetic functions to produce their critical insights into our insides."

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