Truth or Fake

Truth or Fake: Magnetism after a Covid-19 vaccine in Belgium? An expert explains

A woman marched into a vaccination centre to show medical staff how her phone was magnetised to her arm. But what do scientists say?
A woman marched into a vaccination centre to show medical staff how her phone was magnetised to her arm. But what do scientists say? © FRANCE 24

There have been many videos posted online that have attempted to prove that Covid-19 vaccines can make your arm magnetic. These videos have shown people sticking things like phones and spoons onto their upper arms.One video like this, filmed in Namur in Belgium, drew a lot of attention. We spoke to a scientist at the University of Namur who carried out tests on the woman in the video to explain his findings.

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Most of these videos showing telephones, forks or magnets stuck on people’s arms are deliberately faked. In a previous episode of Truth or Fake, we looked at a similar online trend, the #MagnetChallenge, where people stuck magnets to their arms after getting the Covid-19 vaccine, saying that it proved that the vaccine contained a microchip.

In the video we’re looking at this week, a woman goes back to the vaccination centre in the Belgian city of Namur where she got a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. She wants to show the medical staff at the vaccination centre how her mobile phone can now stick to her arm – which she says is proof that her arm has become magnetic since being vaccinated.

The FRANCE 24 Observers team got in touch with Dr Dominique Henrion, a doctor at the Namur Covid Response unit who confirmed that the video was authentic and had really happened.

He said that it was a shame that the medical staff weren’t able to provide answers in response to the couple’s claims, but adds that the couple came to the centre to prove a point rather than ask questions.

The pharmacy department at the University of Namur carried out some tests in response to the incident. Jean-Michel Dogné, the departmental director, carried out experiments on a dozen people, both nurses and civilians, who all said that their arm had become magnetised since getting the vaccine. The woman we see in the video was also the subject of these experiments.

In every single case, no magnetism was found.

Dogné has a hypothesis to explain what we can see in the video: an inflammation in reaction to the vaccine causes the skin to secrete excess sebum or water, making the surface of the skin stickier than usual.

Dogné applied magnesium sulphate, a compound found in talcum powder and which gets rid of any stickiness. When the powder was applied, the ‘magnetic’ effect disappeared. Dogné also suggested another test: buying a military compass and seeing if the alleged electromagnetic field around the vaccine site on the arm makes the needle spin or not. Dogné, however, makes it clear that his theory should be backed up by further testing.

The Belgian Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products said that it had noted similar cases that had been “evaluated and latterly added to the European database EudraVigilance”. This article in the Belgian media RTBF explains that thus far no link has been drawn with vaccination.

The pharmacy department at the University of Namur told the FRANCE 24 Observers team that they would be happy to carry out tests on anyone who worried that the vaccine had made their arm magnetic, or who had any questions about reactions to the vaccine.