The news is out. If you get a COVID vaccine then as an additional bonus benefit you also get a new superpower. You can become Megneto. You do of course believe me … right?
This is amazing news, a chance to become one of the X-Men. I’m all for it, sign me up please, tell me where can I get my vaccine right now.
What is the backstory here?
Over in Ohio, House Bill 248 is being advanced. This is a Republican proposed bill that if passed would prevent schools and businesses from asking for vaccine verification. To make their case they invited Conspiracy crackpot Sherri Tenpenny to testify and explain that having the vaccine causes you to become magnetic. As an additional add-on she also explained that the vaccine comes with a bluetooth extension that enables you to be plugged into a 5G tower.
You might think I’m kidding but this was her claim.
What can I say except to welcome you to the modern GOP.
To put that another way, electing cranks leads to consequences.
Who is Sherri Tenpenny?
Sherri Tenpenny is in many respects the alpha source for many truly bizarre vaccine claims. She is a well-known anti-vaccine conspiracy crank who has been opposed to any and all vaccines for many years. With the rise of Pandemic and the rollout of Covid vaccines, over the last few months she has popped up with some utterly bonkers claims that have no credibility at all.
She has her very own Wikipedia page. These days you get your own page for either being famous or infamous. It her case it is the later. Google that page and there we discover these gems within the opening paragraph …
A 2015 lecture tour of Australia was canceled due to a public outcry over her views on vaccination, which go against the established scientific consensus. An analysis done by the Center for Countering Digital Hate concluded that Tenpenny is among the top twelve people spreading COVID-19 misinformation and pseudoscientific anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. She has falsely asserted the vaccines magnetize people and connect them with cellphone towers.
Here are some of her career highlights
I’ve quote mined her page a bit further to illustrate that a great deal of the vaccine misinformation over the past few months comes directly from her …
In a February 2021 video, Tenpenny claimed that COVID-19 vaccines cause death and autoimmune diseases, saying “Some people are going to die from the vaccine directly, but a large number of people are going to start getting horribly sick and get all kinds of autoimmune diseases, 42 days to maybe a year out.” However, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines cause autoimmune diseases or death.
In an April 2021 video hosted on BitChute, Tenpenny reiterated claims that COVID-19 vaccines lack testing and lead to long-term health effects. Neither statement contains scientific merit or accuracy.
On May 17, 2021, Reuters issued a fact-check refuting Tenpenny’s claim that COVID-19 vaccines affect sperm and fertility. The news organization reiterated that there is no scientific evidence to back these false claims.
Ohio now also makes the page …
Called by Republicans as an expert witness before a June 2021 hearing of the Ohio House Health Committee, Tenpenny promoted the false claim that COVID-19 vaccines cause people to become magnetized such that metal objects stick to their bodies, adding, “There’s been people who have long suspected that there’s been some sort of an interface, yet-to-be-defined interface, between what’s being injected in these shots and all of the 5G towers.”
Did she really stand in front of the Ohio House Health Committee and actually claim that the vaccine can not only magnetise you but also interface you to the nearest 5G tower?
That just has to be an exaggeration, because nobody could possibly be that daft.
Nope, that is exactly what she did. Via CBS, here she is …
For completeness, just to ensure you fully understand it, her stance is complete and total bullshit.
The CDC Issues a Bulletin
So many have latched on to this bizarre magnetic claim that the CDC has had to issue a formal bulletin on June 3rd …
Can receiving a COVID-19 vaccine cause you to be magnetic?
No. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt, lithium, and rare earth alloys, as well as any manufactured products such as microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes, and nanowire semiconductors. In addition, the typical dose for a COVID-19 vaccine is less than a milliliter, which is not enough to allow magnets to be attracted to your vaccination site even if the vaccine was filled with a magnetic metal.
Magnetic – What is Really Going on?
Some people are indeed finding that keys and coins stick, so they sincerely conclude that something really has happened to them because of the vaccine.
Now here is an interesting twist that some might not appreciate. Vaccine or no vaccine, it still works, so it is not the vaccine. Metal or plastic, it still works, so it is also not magnetism either.
Clearly something is going on.
What is actually in play here is what is known as the Van der Waals force. This is a force that works at a molecular level. You can get this to work on yourself. You simply need to bring together two smooth surfaces such as your skin and some cutlery or a mirror. Ideally you also need a bit of moisture as well. What happens is that the electron clouds on the two surfaces interact and attract, hence it sticks.
For those of a skeptical mindset, and also old enough to remember, you might recall that the illusionist James Randi rather famously debunked a guy who claimed to be magnetic and could stick stuff to himself. Here is that magnetic debunking …
You might wonder how Randi knew what was going on.
The secret sauce is this. Randi was a well-practised illusionist with many decades of stage-show experience so he was familiar with all the tricks and how they really worked. By introducing the talcum powder the bond between the electron clouds fails and the illusion falls apart.
Randi also rather famously did all the same spoon bending that Uri Geller was once renowned for. Some would comment, “Well yes, we know that you are an illusionist and that it is a trick, but Uri really has powers and that is how he does it“. I’ve personally heard Randi explain, “If Uri really is using powers to bend spoons then he is doing it the hard way, because the trick is very easy to do“.
My final point is this. I honestly do not know if Tenpenny sincerely believes all she says, or if it is all an act. What is truly important is to understand that all the misinformation she promotes is utterly bereft of any credibility. Don’t be one of her gullible victims and fall for what is basically a cheap trick as “evidence” because it is just an old magic trick.
As for having the vaccine, it really does do something magical, it protects you from COVID.
You might find the following Washington Post article to be worth a read – ‘These new vaccine mutants are extremely disappointing,’ by Magneto.
It very successfully mocks the pure stupidity of it all.
- Did you give it a go, and if so, did it work for you?
- Is Tenpenny being sincere but is sincerely wrong, or is she knowingly practising deliberate fraud and is in it for the money, what do you think?
- If you came across somebody who really believed this stuff, what would you do?
- Perhaps you have, and so the question is really, what did you do and how did they respond? I guess what I’m really asking is this, what can you say to somebody who buys into such crazy notions to help bring them back to reality, do you have any guidance on that?