Nepal’s social media users claim a Covid-19 vaccine makes the human body magnetic. It’s wrong

A collage of screenshots from video clips circulating on social media where some people have claimed they developed magnetic property after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine. Experts reject the claim.

Over the past few weeks, several posts and video clips claiming Covid-19 vaccines can make people magnetic are doing the rounds on social media. The video clips show metal spoons, coins, plates and keys sticking to people’s bodies mainly their arms, and claim or insinuate they became “magnetic” after taking the vaccine.

A photo, posted by one Rahul Basnet on Facebook, shows keys, plates and spoons sticking to the arm of a woman named Sangita Timila allegedly after she received a Covid-19 vaccine and claims this surprised the doctors. The post has received five shares and 36 comments. OS Nepal and KTM Dainik websites have published reports claiming Timila, a resident of Kathmandu’s Ason, developed magnetism in her body after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine.  

A Facebook page titled ‘LoveNepal,’ which has been liked by 90,000 users, has also shared a video clip featuring Timila. The video is also on YouTube and has been viewed over 5,000 times.

Another Facebook user has posted a two-minute video clip that shows a stainless steel tiffin box and a spoon sticking to his arm. The man in the clip says he has been vaccinated and wonders what could have made the items stick to his skin.

Similar clips have been shared on the video-sharing platform TikTok. A user @youredeadtome.ee has posted a clip showing a metal spoon sticking to the arm of her dad, who she says had received a Covid-19 vaccine the previous day. This video has been shared over 1,200 times and received over 39,000 reactions.

Another TikTok user @kasthamandap_tattoo_inn has posted a clip showing a Covid-19 vaccination card, which purportedly is his own, and then sticks a metal plate to his arm. That post has also has received over 50 reactions and 36 shares.

Similarly, TikTok user @Sakuntalachauhan has shared a clip showing a ladle sticking to her body purportedly after vaccination. The clip has received 2,500 reaction and over 500 shares.

Fact check

South Asia Check has examined these claims.

Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population has issued a flier to clear the rumours. It says, “Covid-19 vaccines do not contain any metal-based ingredients and microchips. So, do not fall for such rumours. A Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective. It does not have an adverse effect on our health.”

A flier in the Nepali language issued by the Ministry of Health saying a Covid-19 vaccine does not contain any metal or microchips.

Rumours that Covid-19 vaccines make the recipient’s body magnetic have been circulating not only in Nepal but across the world and scientists and experts have busted such claims.

The US-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a notice on its website stating that a Covid-19 vaccine does not make the human body magnetic. The notice 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 product such as microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes and nanowire semiconductor.”

The metals and devices mentioned in the CDC notice produce electromagnetic fields. The CDC notice further says, “The typical dose for a Covid-19 vaccine is less than a millilitre, which is not enough to allow magnets to be attracted to your vaccination site even if the vaccine was filled with a magnetic metal.”

A fact-check report by Reuters has said none of the Covid-19 jabs approved in the United Kingdom or the United States contains metallic ingredients.

“Many other shots do have small amounts of aluminium, but Oxford University researchers say this is no more harmful than the minimal quantities found naturally in almost all foods and drinking water,” the Reuters report said.

Why do metal objects stick to skin?

Dr Lochan Karki, the president of Nepal Medical Association, tells South Asia Check that a Covid-19 vaccine has no connection to the phenomenon of metal objects sticking to human skin but there could be some other reasons.

“Humidity makes human body sticky,” says Dr Karki. “Due to the oil and sweat on the skin, objects can stick to the skin.”

Prof Dr Narayan Chapagain, the chairman of Nepal Physical Society, says a human body itself has magnetic property and this could have caused metal objects to stick to the body.

He adds, “The hemoglobin in our blood contains iron, 3.5 grams on average. Some people might have slightly more.”

“But, it would be wrong to attribute the purported magnetism to a Covid-19 vaccine,” he says. From these facts, one can say that the claims that a Covid-19 vaccine makes the human body magnetic are baseless.

The article first appeared on South Asia Check.

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