False: COVID-19 vaccines do not make you magnetic
Various social media posts have suggested human bodies become magnetic following vaccinations for COVID-19. These posts are often accompanied by images of metals such as tableware sticking to human bodies.
The claim can be found on various platforms such as Facebook and Twitter (here and here).
A Twitter user, for example, writes in this post in Chinese, “Amazing! An Indian man became “magneto” after vaccination? Apart from fever and dizziness after vaccination, an Indian man from Maharashtra became magnetic enough for metals such as coins, spoons, and plates to adhere to his body after the second shot, just like the “magneto” character in the comics.”
The claim is simply not true.
Clinical virologist Siddharth Sridhar at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) said the ingredients of CoronaVac from Sinovac and Comirnaty from Fosum Pharma/BioNTech, the two available COVID-19 vaccines in Hong Kong, would not “cause the body to be magnetic.”
“There are no materials in the vaccine with magnetic properties,” he explained.
Physics professor Chau Hoi Fung at HKU said, “people with heart disease can still get the jab even if they have a heartbeat regulator inside their bodies which could be sensitive to magnetic fields.”
Chau also said if the claims were true, there would have been lots of complaints about items with magnetic strips such as credit cards becoming unusable.
Hashtags such as #Magneto and #magnetchallenge appeared online with questionable videos showing “magnetic” body parts. Annie Lab has also noticed they are trending on Chinese language social media in Taiwan and Malaysia.
Many posts, such as tweets here and here, are satirical in nature but many users appear to believe some magnetic properties are included in the vaccines.
Internationally, the claim has been debunked multiple times.
In this BBC video, Eric Palm, a physicist at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, pointed out that vaccine needles are a fraction of a millimeter in size.
Even if people could be injected with an extremely magnetic particle, he said, it wouldn’t have enough magnetic force to keep metals stuck to one’s skin.
Palm also said people can easily stick a coin to the skin because of the surface oil and surface tension.
Other news outlets like News Week, FactCheck.org, Reuters, AFP and MyGoPen also published debunks of the same or similar claims.
In the U.S., the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also made clear that COVID-19 vaccination does not make people become magnetic.