The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has welcomed input from top global health experts who have dismissed purported links between the COVID – 19 vaccine and magnetic fields.
This follows the emergence on social media of video footage whereby some individuals are seen placing metal coins on the arms of those who have recently been vaccinated against the virus.
This is in an apparent attempt to “prove” the purported presence of a “magnet” in the newly-injected arm.
But several international medical scientists have rejected these claims as scientifically improbable and false.
According to a report shared by a WHO affiliated group Africa Infodemic Response Alliance (AIRA), Covid-19 vaccines do not contain magnetic microchips.
The report further declares that these social media posts are an absolute hoax, which should be viewed with the contempt it deserves.
In an article by Natalie Wade quoted on the same report, medical experts weigh in, saying these videos are nothing more than a conspiracy theory typical of disinformation about the novel coronavirus.
“No. Getting a Covid-19 vaccine cannot cause your arm to be magnetized. This is a hoax, plain and simple,” said Dr Stephen Schrantz, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Chicago Medicine.
“There is absolutely no way that a vaccine can lead to the reaction shown in these videos posted to Instagram and/or YouTube. It is better explained by 2 sided tape on the metal disk being applied to the skin rather than a magnetic reaction,” he added.
Asked about the claim, Dr Thomas Hope, vaccine researcher and professor of cell and developmental biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine said: “This is impossible. There’s nothing there that a magnet can interact with, it’s protein and lipids, salts, water and chemicals that maintain the pH. That’s basically it, so this is not possible.”
According to fact sheets provided by health authorities in the US and Canada, none of the available Covid-19 vaccinations (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca) list any metal-based ingredients.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms on its website that there are “no trackers” in the vaccines themselves.
Even if they did contain trace amounts of metallic substance, “you would have to have put a fairly substantial piece of metal underneath your skin to get the refrigerator magnets to stick,” said Hope. “You could not put enough metal or iron, that is going to respond to that, in a needle and inject it into the skin.”
Reacting to these reports, KZN Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane said: “We welcome this feedback. It is very unfortunate that at a time when we are in a war against this deadly COVID – 19 epidemic, there are people out there who invest so much time and effort in a misinformation campaign, which results in vaccine hesitancy.
“This is certainly not what we need, and we call upon South Africans to consume and take seriously only news and reports that are from trusted sources such as the WHO, as well as reputable and credible news sources.”