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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman November 8, 2021

A post linking Astroworld tragedy to COVID-19 vaccines and graphene oxide is false

If Your Time is short

  • Graphene oxide has an array of biomedical uses and can be toxic in certain applications, but none of the approved COVID-19 vaccines contain the material.

Investigators are still looking into what caused the crowd surge at Houston’s Astroworld music festival that killed eight people and injured dozens more during a performance by rapper Travis Scott.

Some people on social media claim to have an explanation: the COVID-19 vaccines.

"WHAT HAPPENED AT THE TRAVIS SCOTT CONCERT?" one Facebook post begins. "They’re practicing!! Once they put graphene oxide in you, all they have to do is TUNE THE FREQUENCY!!

The post goes on to say that a material called graphene oxide can "destroy consciousness" and control people through magnetic frequencies, which includes music. 

"They will turn people into zombies, literally … As others have said, this is a test run on the vaxxed," it concludes.

There’s no evidence to suggest graphene oxide can literally turn people into zombies. But there’s a bigger problem with the theory: None of the vaccines contain graphene oxide. 

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Graphene-family materials have an array of uses in biotechnology, and there’s evidence that the compound can be toxic in certain circumstances. But claims that the COVID-19 vaccines contain the substance have proven untrue.

We previously fact-checked a claim that falsely said graphene oxide — a material made by the oxidation of graphite — was used in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. A company spokesperson told us that the material is used in some vaccines, but none by Pfizer.

None of the listed ingredients is another name for graphene oxide, and the material doesn’t appear in ingredient lists for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. 

Ron Mertens, founder and CEO of, a graphene news website, said graphene oxide is "not magnetic and not a conductive material, so it cannot be used in the ways people suggest in such videos."

Full Fact, a fact-checking organization in the United Kingdom, reported that the rumors about graphene oxide in vaccines appear to have originated with a Spanish study from June 2021. The report claimed that, using a microscopic technique, a solution created from a vial of Pfizer’s vaccine was observed to be similar in form to graphene oxide. 

But the study hasn’t been published in a journal or peer-reviewed, and it offers no conclusive evidence. It’s not even clear that the vial being tested contained a legitimate vaccine sample. Fact-checkers at Health Feedback reported that the person who sent the vial to the researcher has been known to spread anti-vaccine content. 

Our ruling

A Facebook post claims the AstroWorld concert was a "test run on the vaxxed" because people who are injected with graphene oxide can be controlled through magnetic frequencies, including music.

The vaccines don’t contain graphene oxide. 

We rate this False. 

Our Sources

Facebook post, Nov. 7, 2021

New York Times, What to Know About the Houston Astroworld Tragedy, Nov. 8, 2021 

PolitiFact, No evidence of ‘graphene oxide’ that’s ‘toxic’ in Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, July 8, 2021 

Full Fact, Covid-19 vaccines still don’t contain graphene oxide, Oct. 14, 2021

MilliporeSigma, Applications of Graphene Oxide and Reduced Graphene Oxide, Accessed Nov. 8, 2021  

Particle and Fibre Toxicology, Toxicity of graphene-family nanoparticles: a general review of the origins and mechanisms, Oct. 31, 2016 

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Appendix C: Ingredients included in COVID-19 vaccines, Updated Nov. 5, 2021 

Email interview, Ron Mertens, founder and CEO of, Nov. 8, 2021

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A post linking Astroworld tragedy to COVID-19 vaccines and graphene oxide is false

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