Covid-19 vaccine: does the ‘magnet challenge’ work?

Covid-19 vaccine: does the ‘magnet challenge’ work?
Covid-19 vaccine: does the ‘magnet challenge’ work? © Observers

A challenge where people stick magnets on their shoulders after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine is meant to prove that the vaccine contains a microchip. In the last episode of Truth or Fake, we analysed this viral challenge and explained why we should be wary of this type of fake experiment. 


Social media platforms love "challenges," whether they encourage people to perform a particular dance move, achieve a particular sporting feat, or taste a specific food... The challenge which caught our attention falls in none of these categories. Called the "magnet challenge," this experiment is linked to the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccination campaign. But this "experiment" is primarily aimed at disinforming, since it allegedly proves that the vaccine contains a microchip. "We're all f*****," says this Facebook post

For this episode, Tristan Werkmeister contacted Julien Bobroff, a French physicist who specialises in magnetism and teaches at the University of Paris-Saclay. "A vaccine against Covid-19 that could contain chips and that would make magnets stick to the skin once injected is absolutely impossible from a scientific standpoint," he said. 

So how can a magnet stick to the skin? The British-American science writer Mick West, who specialises in debunking conspiracy theories, explained in a video that there are multiple ways to make it happen, either by having oily skin or by moisturising it. 

Another hypothesis identified by the fact-checking website "Fact and Furious" points out that people filming these videos could be wearing shoulder prosthesis. Because prostheses contain cobalt, which is a magnetic material, they can attract magnets.  

Have you spotted photos or videos related to the pandemic that you want us to verify? Contact us on the Twitter account @Observers.  

And to watch the other episodes of Truth or Fake, click here!