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What do we know about the Pfizer vaccine and magnets?

This article was published on
May 11, 2021

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The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine’s list of ingredients, listed on the FDA’s website that allowed for its emergency use authorization include mRNA, lipids, potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose. The vaccine is not known to contain any metals or cause any response to magnetic fields. In fact, the small quantity of iron found in the oxygenated blood of the human body is known to repel magnets, which is why we are able to get MRI scans done at hospitals.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine’s list of ingredients, listed on the FDA’s website that allowed for its emergency use authorization include mRNA, lipids, potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose. The vaccine is not known to contain any metals or cause any response to magnetic fields. In fact, the small quantity of iron found in the oxygenated blood of the human body is known to repel magnets, which is why we are able to get MRI scans done at hospitals.

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What our experts say

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine’s list of ingredients include mRNA, lipids, potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose. The vaccine is not known to contain any metals or cause any response to magnetic fields.

Only certain metals can trigger magnetic reactions, and the vaccine does not contain any metals at all. That means it can't cause a magnetic response when it's injected. Additionally, 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.

We are all, however, a little bit magnetic. The human body contains a tiny quantity of iron (which is a magnetic metal). That iron can actually repel magnets when it mixes with the oxygen molecules in our systems. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans rely on our body's magnetic functions to produce their critical insights into our insides. Our blood is also primarily made of water, which repels magnets too.

The COVID-19 vaccines get injected deep in our muscles and over time, the ingredients move through the body to strengthen our immune system. Some people may experience localized inflammation and/or soreness on the injected arm, which lasts for a few days and has been listed by the CDC as a possible temporary side effect. People will not experience magnetism at the injection site.

Context and background

Some recent videos circulating on social media claim that a person’s arm could attract a magnet after several weeks of having received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The video shows a piece of metal being placed on an arm but does not show any evidence of magnetic attraction.

Resources

  1. Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet (FDA)
  2. What are the ingredients of Pfizer’s covid-19 vaccine? (MIT Technology Review)
  3. If There’s Iron in Our Body, Why Don’t We Stick To Magnets? (Posco newsroom)
  4. Does blood have magnetic properties? (Science Learning Hub)
  5. Blood Basics (American Society of Hematology)
  6. What Is the Average (and Ideal) Percentage of Water in Your Body? (Healthline)

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