Anti-vaxxers have found yet another conspiracy theory to cling to in their fight to remain unvaccinated against the deadly coronavirus. Since the vaccines became widely available across the United States, anti-vaccine advocates have claimed that it alters your DNA, includes microchips, or that the vaccine can be "shed" from person to person. So we might all laugh a little bit at their latest outrageous theory, that the vaccine, uh, makes you magnetic?
The magnet theory made its way to the floor of the Ohio state legislature Wednesday when Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, a physician licensed in Ohio and author of Saying No to Vaccines, testified that the COVID vaccine magnetizes people. Tenpenny took the floor when the legislature opened up the hearing to public comments on a bill that would prohibit schools and businesses from requiring coronavirus vaccinations.
"I'm sure you've seen the pictures all over the internet of people who have had these shots and now they're magnetized," she told the panel. "They can put a key on their forehead. It sticks. They can put spoons and forks all over them and they can stick, because now we think that there’s a metal piece to that."
Tenpenny added, "There's been people who have long suspected that there was some sort of an interface, 'yet to be defined' interface, between what’s being injected in these shots and all of the 5G towers." Ah, 5G again, the infamous coronavirus conspiracy promoted by QAnon, which claims that COVID symptoms are apparently very similar to 5G exposure and is, in some way, a hoax.
Later in the testimony, Joanna Overholt, a registered nurse from Strongsville tried to prove Tenpenny's point with a demonstration, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Overholt placed a key and a hairpin against her chest and neck, apparently struggling to hold the key in place. "Explain to me why the key sticks to me. It sticks to my neck too. So, yeah, if somebody could explain this, that would be great," she said.
People have made the false claims in a number of videos online, on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Several clips claimed that the magnetization was proof that the vaccines were, in fact, microchipping people. Others just showed people doing the "magnet challenge." But the claims are, of course, absolutely false.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued a bulletin last week stating that the vaccines "do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection." It added that "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 claims have also been debunked on TikTok by average people and doctors alike, who provide detailed examples and research disproving the magnetism theory altogether.
And, according to Professor Michael Coey from the School of Physics at Trinity College Dublin, who spoke with Reuters, you would need at least one gram of iron metal to support a magnet at the injection site. As such, Coey told Reuters the claims are "complete nonsense" and added that a permanent magnet is something you would "easily feel."
"By the way, my wife was injected with her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine today, and I had mine over two weeks ago. I have checked that magnets are not attracted to our arms!" he said.
There might be a more convincing reason, if less exciting, the metals are sticking to people. Experts say this could simply be the result of oily arms or securing the magnets with spit. Don't believe everything you see online — or in court, apparently.