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How do we know that COVID-19 vaccines are not being used to inject tracking chips?

This article was published on
May 10, 2021

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No, COVID-19 vaccines are not being used to inject tracking chips. Health organizations, national health and drug regulatory agencies, and disease control centers would not approve vaccines that secretly track patients without their consent. For COVID-19 vaccines, rigorous clinical trials with tens of thousands of patients have occurred and full ingredient lists have been analyzed by health bodies before they approve or deny the use of a vaccine. Of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use, none of them have any tracking chips in their ingredients, immunization syringes, or any other place. COVID-19 vaccine vial labels may contain RFID chips for supply chain and inventory tracking purposes. Technology experts say that injecting microchips into a body would not be a practical way to track people due to current technical constraints as well as cost, particularly given existing alternatives for location tracking. The videos with false claims about COVID-19 vaccines containing microchips were determined to have manipulated footage. 

No, COVID-19 vaccines are not being used to inject tracking chips. Health organizations, national health and drug regulatory agencies, and disease control centers would not approve vaccines that secretly track patients without their consent. For COVID-19 vaccines, rigorous clinical trials with tens of thousands of patients have occurred and full ingredient lists have been analyzed by health bodies before they approve or deny the use of a vaccine. Of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use, none of them have any tracking chips in their ingredients, immunization syringes, or any other place. COVID-19 vaccine vial labels may contain RFID chips for supply chain and inventory tracking purposes. Technology experts say that injecting microchips into a body would not be a practical way to track people due to current technical constraints as well as cost, particularly given existing alternatives for location tracking. The videos with false claims about COVID-19 vaccines containing microchips were determined to have manipulated footage. 

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What our experts say

COVID-19 vaccines are not being used to inject tracking chips. Health organizations, national health and drug regulatory agencies, and disease control centers would not approve vaccines that secretly track patients without their consent.

For COVID-19 vaccines, rigorous clinical trials with tens of thousands of patients have occurred and full ingredient lists have been analyzed by health bodies before they approve or deny the use of a vaccine. Of the COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use, none of them have any tracking chips in their ingredients, immunization syringes, or any other place.

Implantable chips for tracking have been tried before in humans and animals, mostly for identification of pets and livestock. These chips are typically inserted via surgical incision or with a large syringe, and are often implanted together with antennas and/or batteries. The size of a tracking device is usually determined by these other components, rather than just the chip itself.

Technology experts say that injecting microchips would not be a practical way to track people's locations due to current technical constraints as well as cost, particularly given existing alternatives for location tracking such as using a cell phone. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released detailed guidance on how COVID-19 vaccines should be prepared and administered. For example, for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the CDC guidance states that the needles used should be 21 gauge or narrower. This is smaller than most tracking chips used in the market today, and the miniaturized microchips that are being developed are not designed to work as implants in humans for tracking purposes.

The Mayo Clinic Co-Chair for COVID-19 vaccine allocation and distribution, Dr. Abinash Virk, says that vaccine administrators may choose the smallest needle size within the guidance limits in order not to waste any amount of the vaccine that clings to the needle.

Beyond physical size constraints that prevent a functional tracking chip from being injected during vaccination, the COVID-19 vaccines are also carefully regulated for safety, quality and accuracy of contents during manufacturing, transport, storage and administration.

COVID-19 vaccine vial labels may contain radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips for supply chain and inventory tracking purposes. RFID chips require scanners to read the location and do not provide real-time location tracking like devices that use the global positioning system (GPS). RFID chips are not being injected into people receiving COVID-19 vaccines.

Context and background

There have been videos circulating online that falsely suggest microchips are being injected into people during COVID-19 vaccinations for tracking purposes. These videos have been analyzed by multiple fact-checking organizations, and it was determined that the footage has been taken out of context or altered to be misleading. 

Resources

  1. U.S. COVID-19 Vaccine Product Information (U.S. CDC)
  2. World's smallest and thinnest 0.15 x 0.15 mm, 7.5µm thick RFID IC chip (Hitachi)
  3. Smaller Chips Open Door to New RFID Applications (North Carolina State University)
  4. IBM Unveils World's First 2 Nanometer Chip Technology, Opening a New Frontier for Semiconductors (IBM)
  5. Fact check: RFID microchips will not be injected with the COVID-19 vaccine, altered video features Bill and Melinda Gates and Jack Ma (Reuters)
  6. Microchips Inserted via Vaccine Would Be a Terrible Way to Track People (Slate)
  7. Fact check: Americans won’t have microchips implanted by end of 2020 (USA Today)

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