‘Lagkit ng katawan lang’: COVID-19 jab doesn’t cause magnetism, pharmacist says

July 14, 2021 - 5:31 PM
Pfizer BionTech vaccine
A medical worker prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Sao Jose Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, January 19, 2021. (Reuters/Pedro Nunes, file)

COVID-19 vaccines do not contain magnets, a registered pharmacist said in response to false claims still circulating across social media platforms.

Arshie Larga, who is also a TikTok content creator, expressed this on Twitter on July 13. Larga also attached screenshots of TikTok videos that spread such false information on the platform.

“Naloloko na ako sa mga taong ganito (surprise emoji) Dati piso ngayon naman kutsara at cellphone naman ang ‘dumidikit daw’ sa braso nila after getting the vaccine,” he said.

“Again, wala pong lamang magnet ang mga covid vaccine. Baka lagkit ng katawan lang po yan kaya dumidikit sa braso (wink emoji),” he added.

In both screenshots, some TikTok users showed how some metal objects, such as a spoon and a smartphone, are sticking to their arms as supposed proof that vaccines cause magnetism.

This false claim, which is akin to other rumors and myths about COVID-19 jabs, are spreading on video-sharing app TikTok.

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A quick search on TikTok about “magnets” and “vaccines” will yield hashtags such as #vaccinemagnet and #covidvaccinemagnet with millions of views each on the platform.

A challenge called #vaccinemagnetchallenge also became popular. In this odd trend, users and content creators across the world, including in the Philippines, posted videos that showed supposed magnetism after receiving COVID-19 shots.

One of the images Larga captured has a similar hashtag #magnetvaccine, which racked up over five million views on the platform.

This false claim has also reached Facebook.

Last May, a Filipino Facebook user circulated a video that featured snippets of alleged vaccinated people trying to attract objects to their arms and faces.

It’s just skin moisture

International fact-checkers such as Full Fact, BBC.com and Reuters have since disproved these claims about magnets and COVID-19 jabs as false.

The report of Full Fact cited the presence of skin moisture as the main reason why some objects are attracted or adhere to the skin.

“It’s much more likely that the videos are showing adhesion of the magnet to the skin, thanks partly to moisture on the skin’s surface and the fact that the magnet is small and light,” said the fact-check report.

“This effect is similar to how it’s possible to “stick” a coin to your forehead or balance a spoon on your nose,” it added.

Some social media posts also direct that this situation only occurs when inoculated with certain brands of COVID-19 vaccine, citing mostly Pfizer-BioNTech.

Full Fact said that COVID-19 vaccine brands being distributed in the United States, the United Kingdom and other parts of the world did not contain any ingredient that would attract a magnet.

“All of the ingredients for the Pfizer/BioNTechOxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines have been made publicly available. None of them contain enough of anything that would attract a magnet, and certainly no microchips or tracking devices,” it said.

Similarly, Reuters quoted medical experts as saying that a COVID-19 vaccine dose could not contain the amount of metal needed to attract magnets.

“The amount of metal that would need to be in a vaccine for it to attract a magnet is much more substantial than the amounts that could be present in a vaccine’s small dose,” medical professionals at the Meedan Health Desk were quoted as saying.