No graphene oxide in COVID vaccines – debunking another anti-vax myth

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While reading anti-vax propaganda, I found a claim that there is graphene oxide in COVID-19 vaccines. I know, what the everlasting F*** is graphene oxide and why is it in our COVID-19 vaccines?

Well, I decided to dig into this myth and figure out what this nonsense is all about. It’s been around for a few months, but it seems to be rearing its zombie meme head again in several places.

But you and I both know that if it comes from the mouth of an anti-vaxxer, we can be assured that it’s far from factual or scientific.

What is graphene oxide?

Glad you asked.

Graphene oxide is a monomolecular sheet of graphite oxide which is used for certain applications like films, paper-like materials, membranes, and anything that requires a material such as this. As far as I can tell, graphene oxide has no medical uses outside of membranes for filtration, but certainly no application in vaccines.

Graphene oxide is insoluble in water, but it can absorb it. If you put graphene oxide (or better yet graphite oxide), it would swell several times its size and would be visible to the naked eye as particulate matter.

Graphene oxide is a very interesting material and it will be used for many applications. But none of those applications will ever include vaccines unless it’s used to deliver vaccines in some future world.

One more thing. The internet tropes about this material in COVID-19 vaccines claim that they contain over 95% graphene oxide. Hold on, I need to laugh.

If these vaccines did indeed contain that amount of graphene oxide, they would be black. I mean black ink black. And in every photo I’ve seen of the COVID-19 vaccines, they are clear as water.

Why do anti-vaxxers think there is graphene oxide in COVID-19 vaccines?

Good question from the mysterious person asking these questions.

Well, the answer lies in the same place that a lot of anti-vaccine tropes rise, that is, in bad science or bad interpretations of science. In this case, it’s bad interpretations of bad science.

A report, dated 28 June 2021, was published by Pablo Campra Madrid, a professor at theUniversity of Almería (UAL). However, UAL denied any responsibility for the report, which is a testament to its quality.

Essentially, the University ofAlmería described the publication as an “unofficial report by a university professor about an analysis of a sample of unknown origin with a total lack of traceability.” And they said that it was a“report that this university neither subscribes to nor shares, as the report itself warns.”

As stated on pages 3 and 8 of the report, Campra Madrid analyzed samples out of a Pfizer-BioNTech vial of “unknown origin” with two types of microscopes. The vial was sent to him by “messenger service”. The paper does not provide further details regarding the vaccine dose’s source.

In the report, Campra Madrid said he compared images of this vaccine liquid under the microscopes with images of graphene oxide published in scientific journals. He concluded that they looked similar. In fact, what he saw under the microscope could show any material.

Campra Madrid concluded that the vaccines are 99.9% graphene oxide!!! If these vaccines contained even 1% graphene oxide, the liquid would be black or dark brown, and they wouldn’t be transparent. Where did Campra Madrid study science?

So, let’s review. A researcher’s report, disavowed by his university, examined ONE Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine vial of unknown origin that was mysteriously shipped to the said researcher, and he used a microscope to compare what he saw in this vial with photos of graphene oxide that he found online.

I don’t think I need to tell this to anyone, but that’s not science. If I were to determine if there was any graphene oxide in COVID-19 vaccines, this is how I would do it:

  1. Obtain vaccine vials through a respected channel, such as a pharmaceutical distributor.
  2. I would make certain I had several vials from several different random lots.
  3. I would do mass spectrometry (or something similar, I am not an organic chemist nor would I ever want to play one on the internet) to identify all of the organic compounds in the vaccine.
  4. I would not use microscopy anywhere in my study.
  5. Then I would assemble all of the data and publish it in a peer-reviewed journal, but only if I could find graphene oxide, because that would be an interesting result.

In his study, Campra Madrid himself acknowledges that the “microscope doesn’t provide conclusive evidence” and that the analysis comes from “a single, limited sample” – one of unknown origin and traceability. Not to be snarky, but “you think?”

But, do these vaccines actually contain graphene oxide?

No, mysterious questioner, they don’t.

Let’s review the official ingredients list for each of these vaccines:

Remember, if these vaccines actually contained graphene oxide, they would be black. So, here are photos of each of the vaccines:

graphene oxide COVID-19 vaccines
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash.
AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
JNJ COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Mohammad Shahhosseini on Unsplash
government health hospital medicine
Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Mufid Majnun on Pexels.com

So what do we notice about all of those photos? They’re all crystal clear and transparent. None of them have 99.9% graphene oxide.

Summary

The claim that there is graphene oxide in these vaccines is false. Moreover, I don’t think there’s any plausible claim that it’s an accidental or intentional contaminant of the vaccines since it’s not used in any of the processes as far as I know.

It’s possible, in the distant future, that graphene oxide film could be used for filtration of these vaccines for some unknown reason, but even then, there wouldn’t be particles of graphene oxide floating in the vaccine. It would be a super strong film, which doesn’t break into tiny pieces.

Like nanobots, this is just a myth created from one lame piece of “research” that doesn’t even meet the lowest bar of the scientific method.

But for some reason, graphene oxide is the contaminant du jour for the anti-vaxxers. But if you are here to find out if graphene oxide is contaminating your COVID-19 vaccines, rest assured that it does not.


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The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!