COVID-19 Fact Checks

FALSE: COVID-19 vaccines are ‘barcodes for life’

Rappler
FALSE: COVID-19 vaccines are ‘barcodes for life’
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are not used to track or identify people
At a glance:
  • Claim: COVID-19 vaccines are being used to identify and track people, and will biologically alter human forms. This makes them “barcodes for life.”
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: COVID-19 vaccines do not work the way they were described in the video where the claim came from. They are not used to track or identify people.
  • Why we fact-checked this: Several readers sent the video containing this claim to Rappler’s email and to the Facebook group “Fact-checking in the Philippines” for verification. As of writing, the video had over 222,000 views on Facebook, 14,100 shares, 6,800 reactions, and 1,900 comments.
Complete details:

Facebook page “The Keepers Of Chaim” uploaded a video on March 14 that falsely claimed COVID-19 vaccines are being used to tag people, essentially making them “barcodes for life.” The video also claimed that COVID-19 vaccines will eventually alter the biological form of humans.

The video, entitled “The Bar Code For Life,” featured an interview with a certain Celeste Solum. Solum was said to be a former officer of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the US agency responsible for assisting citizens during disasters.

Solum said COVID-19 vaccines are being used to alter the human body, with the primary goal of mass extermination.

“So what will happen with the vaccine is you get it injected into you, and then it self-assembles. And then it swarms through your body and it crosses your blood-brain barrier and it takes over your brain. It harvests your fluids in your body, your moisture, as it grows and it grows until we’re no longer human,” Solum said.

She then warned towards the end of the clip: “The only way to avoid it is to say no to the COVID test, to the vaccination.”

This is false. COVID-19 vaccines do not work the way Solum described. FEMA also denied that Solum was ever an employee of the agency.

Although Solum did not mention a specific vaccine brand, the video showed the logo of American pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Together with German biotechnology company BioNTech, Pfizer developed a vaccine for COVID-19 that introduces messenger RNA (mRNA) into the body.

Instead of the traditional way where the antigen is injected into the body, mRNA vaccines give the body the genetic code needed to produce the pathogen’s antigen itself. This spurs an immune response, which teaches the body how to defeat similar antigens in the future. They are not used to track or identify people.

There are also no indications that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines can “take over” the human brain. According to Pfizer, potential side effects of its COVID-19 vaccine include injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, injection site swelling, injection site redness, nausea, malaise, and enlargement of the lymph nodes.

In June 2020, Reuters debunked a related claim from Solum that COVID-19 testing will “harvest” all the fluids in a person’s body. In its article, Reuters reported that a representative from FEMA said the agency “has no record of a Celeste Solum having ever been a FEMA employee.”

Several readers sent the video containing this claim to Rappler’s email and to the Facebook group “Fact-checking in the Philippines” for verification. As of writing, the video had over 222,000 views on Facebook, 14,100 shares, 6,800 reactions, and 1,900 comments.

Rappler previously fact-checked similar claims that COVID-19 nasal swabs can break the blood-brain barrier, that Moderna’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine can alter human DNA, and that billionaire Bill Gates admitted the COVID-19 vaccine could permanently alter human DNA. These are all not true. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

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