A nurse prepares to administer a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at a health care centre in Seoul on February 26, 2021, as South Korea starts coronavirus vaccination campaign. (AFP / Jung Yeon-je)

False ‘magnetic’ claims circulate online about AstraZeneca vaccine

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Multiple social media posts have shared claims that electronic devices recognise people who have received the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. The posts go on to claim that anyone who receives the vaccine will become magnetic; will have their DNA altered and will die from blood clots. The claims are false, according to health experts.

The claims were shared here on Naver Blog on May 28, 2021.

The post's Korean-language caption translates to English as: “Electronic devices recognise a person who got vaccinated against Covid-19 as another device with a Bluetooth function. They pair you and you show up as ‘AstraZeneca’.

“Now it all makes sense that people who get a Covid-19 jab dies due to a rare blood clot and becomes magnetic. It has become clear that the vaccines alter your DNA.”

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on June 10, 2021.

The claim was shared alongside several screenshots of a video overlaid with English-language text that reads: “AstraZeneca Bluetooth Side Effect” and “Connect to the Bluetooth see what happens part 2!”

The video was originally posted on TikTok here on June 4, 2021. It has since been removed.

The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is among the three coronavirus vaccines being administered in South Korea.

As of June 14, 2021, the country had administered more than 7.9 million first doses and more than 711,000 second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Similar claims have also been shared on Facebook here and here; as well as on the South Korean social media site Daum Cafe here

The claims are false, according to health experts.

Not magnetic

“There are no ingredients in the AstraZeneca vaccines or any other Covid-19 vaccines that could turn people into Bluetooth or make a human body react to Bluetooth,” a spokesperson at the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) told AFP on June 9, 2021.

“Scientifically, the claim does not make sense.”

AFP has previously debunked false posts that claim people exhibit magnetic properties after being vaccinated for Covid-19.

People can easily change their Bluetooth name using their mobile devices or Windows operating system, as explained here in Korean and here in English.

'Extremely rare'

No one in South Korea has died from rare blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine as of June 14, 2021.

To date, authorities have reported one patient developed blood clots after receiving the jab.

“The patient has been treated and recovered,” a KDCA official told AFP on June 14, 2021.

“A possibility of having a blood clot as a result of the vaccination against Covid-19 is extremely rare,” the agency said here on its website on June 10, 2021.

“It can be treated and recovered if it’s diagnosed at an early stage.”

The European Medicines Agency has said unusual blood clots should be listed as a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine, although it has stressed that its overall benefits in preventing Covid-19 outweigh the risks. AFP reported on the developments here.

False DNA claim

Covid-19 vaccines cannot alter DNA, health experts say. 

“Whilst [Covid-19 vaccine] technologies both use genetic codes to produce the spike protein inside the body, this code cannot be incorporated into the body’s DNA,” the Oxford University-run Vaccine Knowledge Project said here on March 17, 2021.

“Vaccines do not contain the ‘specialised tools’ needed to ‘copy’ or ‘edit’ DNA.”

AFP has previously debunked false claims that Covid-19 vaccines alter DNA.