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The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine does not include ingredients that would cause a recipient’s body to connect to Bluetooth-enabled smartphones and other devices.
A debunked claim from the early days of the pandemic — that the COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips — is spreading anew online, courtesy of a TikTok video circulating across platforms.
"AstraZeneca Bluetooth side effect," says the text on the two-part TikTok video, which shows a man who claims that his body has been connecting to Bluetooth-enabled devices ever since he got the AstraZeneca shot. One hashtag on the video: "#chipped."
The ingredients for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are publicly available online, including on government websites where the vaccine is approved for use, such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. (The vaccine has not been authorized for emergency use in the U.S.)
The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Conspiracy theories about microchips in the COVID-19 vaccines have been so persistent that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention addressed them in a vaccine safety FAQ.
"There may be trackers on the vaccine shipment boxes to protect them from theft, but there are no trackers in the vaccines themselves," the agency wrote.
This two-part TikTok video adds a new wrinkle to the false narrative, with the man in the video claiming his body is connecting to Bluetooth-enabled devices as a result of the vaccine.
In the first part of the video, the man sits at a counter and talks about the side effects he felt after getting his vaccine. The camera focuses on his smartphone, which then shows a notification for a "Bluetooth pairing request" from a device titled "AstraZeneca_ChAdOx1-S."
"The only problem is that everywhere I go, everywhere I go, everything is trying to connect to me now, like Bluetooth connectivity," the man says before showing his phone. "I got Bluetooth connectivity. I get in the car, my car is trying to connect to me. I go home, my computer is trying to connect. My phone is trying to connect. Like everything, all the time."
In the second part of the video, the man is sitting at the same counter but wearing a different outfit. He approaches a TV, and the TV says, "Connecting to AstraZeneca_ChAdOx1-S."
But the TikTok video doesn’t prove what it claims to.
First, Bluetooth-enabled devices can typically be renamed as the user sees fit, and any other device could be triggering the notifications in the video.
Second, microchips are too big to fit into the COVID-19 shots.
"A microchip is about 0.5 inches long," said Dr. Paul Offit, chair of vaccinology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. "That wouldn’t fit through the end of a needle."
The video resembles other recent postings by social media users who claimed, falsely, that they were able to stick magnets to their arms because of microchips in the vaccines.
As PolitiFact and other fact-checkers reported, there’s nothing magnetic or metallic in the vaccines. "It’s protein and lipids, salts, water and chemicals that maintain the pH," Thomas Hope, a vaccine researcher at Northwestern University, told AFP. "That’s basically it.
AstraZeneca did not respond to requests for comment.
A TikTok video claims the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine contains a Bluetooth microchip.
There’s no support for that claim. The ingredients for the AstraZeneca vaccine do not include Bluetooth technology. Claims that the vaccines contain microchips have been widely debunked.
What’s more, Bluetooth enabled devices can be renamed as users see fit — and there’s no evidence the man’s body is responsible for the notifications shown in the video.
We rate this video False.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Additional Information for People Worried about COVID-19 Vaccination," accessed May 21, 2021
University of Nebraska Medicine, "Test Your COVID-19 Vaccine Knowledge," accessed May 21, 2021
AFP Fact Check, "Covid-19 vaccines do not contain magnetic microchips," May 20, 2021
U.K. Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, "Information for UK recipients on COVID 19 Vaccine AstraZeneca," April 15, 2021
Government of Canada, "AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: What you should know," April 14, 2021
University of Oxford, "COVID-19 vaccines," March 3, 2021
PolitiFact, "No, these magnet videos don’t prove the COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips," May 17, 2021
PolitiFact, "No, the US isn’t developing a vaccine or ‘antivirus’ with a chip to track people," April 3, 2021
Email interview with Dr. Paul A. Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and chair of vaccinology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, May 21, 2021
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