The Claim and Our Verdict
- The claim: A video was shared Sept. 6, 2021 on Facebook, along with a claim that the COVID-19 vaccine contains graphene oxide, a toxic compound, and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine contains trypanosoma cruzi, a species of parasitic euglenoids.
- The original video, published in 2009, is about the replication of trypanosoma cruzi, not related to the Pfizer vaccine.
- Hong Kong’s Department of Health responded to our enquiry, “According to the summary of product characteristics of the Pfizer vaccine, it does not contain graphene oxide and trypanosoma cruzi.”
- The fact sheet of the vaccine published by The Food and Drug Administration, shows that the Pfizer vaccine does not contain graphene oxide or trypanosoma cruzi, either.
- Our ruling: Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
A video was shared Sept. 6, 2021 on Facebook, together with a claim that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine contains graphene oxide and trypanosoma cruzi. Graphene oxide is a toxic compound of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Trypanosoma cruzi is a species of parasitic euglenoids.
As of the issuance of this report, the post had been shared 5 times, and had received 4 comments and 31 likes or reactions.
The video’s English subtitles read, “Intracellular replication of Trypanosoma cruzi.” A Google keyword search on this found the original YouTube video.
The video was uploaded Sept. 1, 2009 on the YouTube channel “iBiology.” It lasts 4 minutes and 9 seconds, longer than the two-minute 20-second video discussed in the claim. The video’s description shows it is “(an) excellent video of trypanosoma cruzi promastigotes infecting host cells, transforming to amastigotes and undergoing replication.” The speaker in the video is professor Norma Andrews at the University of Maryland in the United States. According to her introduction, this video demonstrates trypanosoma cruzi’s replication process in a medium made of chicken retinal cells. Therefore, it is not associated with the COVID-19 vaccine.
HKBU FactCheck Service sent enquiries to the Drug Office of Hong Kong’s Department of Health. The Drug Office responded, “According to the Pfizer vaccine’s summary of product characteristics, it does not contain graphene oxide or trypanosoma cruzi. The government would strive to provide safe, effective, and quality COVID-19 vaccines.”
The summary of product characteristics of the Pfizer vaccine published on the government’s COVID-19 thematic website shows one dose of the vaccine contains 30 micrograms of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (listed in section 2 of the document), and other excipients. The list of excipients (shown in section 6.1 of the document) contains neither graphene oxide nor trypanosoma cruzi. This document was last revised on Aug. 10, 2021.
Besides, the fact sheet of “Comirnaty and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine” published Sept. 22, 2021 on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website shows that the Pfizer vaccine does not contain graphene oxide or trypanosoma cruzi, either.
Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
- Facebook post, Sept. 6, 2021.
- Department of Health of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the fact sheet of the Pfizer vaccine.
- Reverse image search tool, Yandex.
- YouTube, iBiology, Trypanosoma cruzi: Host cell infection and intracellular replication.
- University of Maryland, professor Norma Andrews.
- Drug Office, Department of Health, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
- Department of Health, the summary of product characteristics of the Pfizer vaccine.
- FDA, Comirnaty and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.