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Fact Check-Pictured microchip is unrelated to COVID-19 vaccine

A photo of a microchip designed by Columbia University engineers is circulating in connection with conspiracy theories claiming a chip is inserted with the COVID-19 vaccine. This microchip, however, is still being tested, is not yet for human use, and has nothing to do with vaccines.

Posts show a picture of the microchip inside the tip of a needle, with captions and comments suggesting a connection with the COVID-19 vaccine. These include: “Make sure to get your vaccine!!” (here); “Now you all know why the magnet sticks” (here); “I’m not getting chipped all that govt […] I’m not taking no bullshit covid-19 vaccine” (here); and “I heard if a person had the moderna vaccine a strong magnet will stick to the arm where injection was” (here).

Some of these posts reference the “magnet challenge”, where social media users started posting videos of magnets attracted to the site of a COVID-19 vaccine injection claiming it proves the vaccine contains a microchip. Reuters explained here that the “magnet challenge” does not prove COVID-19 shots contain metal or a microchip.

Reuters has also previously debunked other claims that COVID-19 vaccines contain a microchip here , here , here , here and here .

The photo shared in the social media posts is figure 1D in a study about this micro technology, seen here .

The microchip made by researchers at Columbia Engineering has a total volume of less than 0.1mm3 and uses ultrasound to measure vital signs (currently only temperature but the team is working on more possibilities) for diagnostic and therapeutic medical procedures, as explained here .

“This research has nothing to do with Covid-19 and vaccinations. It’s about someday improving wound healing and potentially treating disease,” Holly Evarts, Director of Strategic Communications and Media Relations at Columbia Engineering told Reuters via email.

“It has only been tested on rodents, not on humans – human testing will not happen any time soon,” she added.

Addressing concerns about this chip being used wirelessly in the future, Ken Shepard, a professor of electrical and biomedical engineering at Columbia and a researcher on the project (here), told Reuters via email that the device does not use electromagnetics “which is what we usually think of when we think of wireless.” He explained that instead it uses ultrasound, meaning “you have to be interacting with an ultrasound imaging device for the chip to be powered or communicate.”

VERDICT

False. The microchip pictured was designed by researchers at Columbia Engineering for measuring vital signs for treating and diagnosing medical conditions and is not linked to the COVID-19 vaccinations. It has not yet been tested on humans, let alone approved for human use.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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