FDA document does not say graphene oxide is in Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine

21 April 2023
What was claimed

A document released by the FDA confirms the presence of graphene oxide in the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19.

Our verdict

The document explains that graphene oxide was used to support a sample in a microscope during the research process for the vaccine, not in the actual product. The vaccine does not contain graphene oxide.

A blog shared on social media falsely claims that a document released by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “confirms the presence of Graphene Oxide, a highly toxic and conductive substance, in the Pfizer [Covid-19] vaccine”.

This is not true. There is no graphene oxide in the vaccine, and the FDA did not say there was.

We have previously fact checked social media posts claiming that the Covid vaccines contain graphene oxide, as well as claims that it’s in other medications.

Graphene oxide is a material with a number of uses within biotechnology and in other fields. There is evidence that it may be toxic in certain situations. 

The NHS is still offering initial vaccination against Covid-19 to most people, and boosters to more vulnerable people.

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What does the document say?

The document, entitled “Structural and Biophysical Characterization of SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein (P2 S) as a Vaccine Antigen” appears in a collection of documents released by the FDA.

It describes a study “to express and characterize the vaccine antigen”. Graphene oxide is mentioned in section 3.4, which describes how a sample of protein was prepared for viewing with a microscope.

The sentence itself reads: “For TwinStrep-tagged P2 S, 4 μL purified protein at 0.5 mg/mL were applied to gold Quantifoil R1.2/1.3 300 mesh grids freshly overlaid with graphene oxide.”

The FDA told Full Fact: 

“Graphene oxide is included in a sentence on page 7 to describe, in part, the laboratory procedure pertaining to the study of the structural characterization of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein using a specific type of microscope.  Graphene oxide is a material to aid in the imaging of the protein.  Graphene oxide is not an ingredient in the vaccine.”

In other words, the document does not say that graphene oxide was used in the vaccines itself. It says it was used in the study of the structure of the Covid virus during the research process. This does not mean that any ends up in the final product.

When we asked Pfizer to confirm this, it told us:

“Graphene oxide is not used in the manufacture of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. There is no graphene oxide used in the manufacturing process and there is none in the raw materials or the final vaccine product.

Graphene oxide is used in laboratory experiments to aid in the visualisation of SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins via electron-microscopy.  In these experiments, graphene oxide is frequently placed onto a meshed grid which supports the protein sample to be analysed. The use of graphene oxide, as part of this analytical procedure, is completely unrelated to the manufacture of the vaccine.”

We have contacted The Exposé for comment.

Featured image courtesy of Prefeitura Campinas

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