FDA-approved ‘electronic pill’ is not evidence ‘microchip’ COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy is ‘proven’

SciCheck Digest

COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips and have ingredient lists readily available. But social media posts are using an old clip of Pfizer’s CEO talking about an “electronic pill” to give the false impression that he’s confirming a conspiracy theory about microchips in the vaccines.

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The ingredient lists for the US Food and Drug Administration approved and approved COVID-19 vaccines are available online. The vaccines do not contain microchips.

But the false claim that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips has been circulating for most of the pandemic. When research for COVID-19 vaccines began in 2020Conspiracy theories falsely claimed that the would contain vaccines Microchips to track peopleplanted by Bill Gates or Other.

Years later, COVID-19 vaccine skeptics Try to corroborate the claim that vaccines are microchipped using a video clip from 2018 Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, on an “electronic pill” with a digital sensor that he says has been approved by the FDA. The posts create the false impression that Bourla’s remarks are new and could affect the COVID-19 vaccines.

But the clip is actually from the World Economic Forum, which was held in January 2018, before the pandemic and COVID-19 vaccines, and refers to a drug not developed by Pfizer that is intended for a specific group of patients, those with certain mental health conditions.

Turning Point USA, a conservative organization, announced this Clip by Bourla on Facebook — without providing context or connection to COVID-19 — with the caption “Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla praised a pill with a chip in Davos…?! YOU ALL WHAT. #BigGovSucks.” Still, one user makes the connection to the COVID-19 vaccines comment“oh…just take the recording…nothing in it will bother you!…hahahaha!!!”

The post has been viewed over 23,000 times, according to CrowdTangle, with similar posts resulting in over 486,090 Facebook interactions.

Jimmy Dore, a frequent spreader of misinformation and host of The Jimmy Dore Show, made a segment of Bourla’s panel discussion at the World Economic Forum that was posted on the show’s YouTube channel on May 21 with a graphic that incorrectly reads, “One more Conspiracy Proved TRUE!” The YouTube description of the video, titled “Microchips In Pills To Force Compliance Are REAL Says Pfizer CEO,” also gives the wrong time frame for Bourla’s comments, saying that “Bourla made a recent appearance on the panel,” though it was actually four years ago.

In the videoDore agreed with a tweet that read, “Another conspiracy theory becomes conspiracy fact.” The video received over 168,000 views and 13,000 likes.

“So it’s not a conspiracy theory. The conspiracy was that the tracker was in the vaccine. Yes. They only work on compliance tracking. It just wasn’t finished yet. So you must feel like a real idiot if you thought they were going to put that in the vaccine,” Dore said jokingly.

towards the end of the videoDore jokes with his partner, comedian Kurt Metzger that the pill could be good for psychiatric or “psychiatric” patients.

While he may have been joking, Dore was right about the pills being used for psychiatric patients, but he never explains that that’s exactly what Bourla was talking about.

During the forum, panellists discussed patient retention and how to ensure patients are taking the medication they need, prompted by a question from the audience.

“Even if you make the best drug or the best wearable, there is no guarantee that the patient will take the drug or wear the device. So How do you think about technology to engage the patient,” one listener asked the panellists.

The question sparked Bourla’s response, which was included in the social media posts but had nothing to do with COVID-19 or vaccines.

Bourla, January 2018: I find it fascinating what is happening in this area right now. I mean, the FDA approved the first electronic pill, if I may call it that. So it’s basically a biological chip that’s in the pill and as soon as we take the pill and it dissolves, your stomach sends a signal that you’ve taken the pill. So imagine the impact, the compliance. TInsurance companies need to know that the drugs patients should be taking are taking them. It is fascinating what is happening in this area, but of course there will be an initial spark Cost that someone has to invest.

Bourla was referring to Abilify MyCite, aripiprazole tablets with a sensor developed by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. and Proteus Digital Health. The FDA-approved pill takes some getting used to to treat Schizophrenia, Bipolar I Disorder, and Major Depression in Adults and note when the medication is taken. The drug was approved in 2017, a few months ahead of the 2018 World Economic Forum, and is used as a treatment rather than a vaccine.

Abilify MyCite is the first approved drug in the US with a digital intake tracking system, the company said FDA. It works by sending a message from the pill’s sensor to a wearable patch, which transmits the information to a mobile application so patients can track their medication on their smartphones.

FDA spokeswoman April Grant confirmed to us in an email that Abilify MyCite is the only FDA-approved drug in the US with this type of system.

COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips or any of the same materials as the Abilify MyCite tablets, FDA spokeswoman Abby Capobianco told us in an email.

“These claims are completely false. The FDA approved and approved COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any of the items/materials in this claim,” she said. “For the list of ingredients in the vaccines, see the information sheet for recipients and carers (found here on page 2 for Moderna and further here page 4 for Pfizer).”

Capobianco said that too FDA Review Memorandum for the Pfizer vaccine contained “information on the chemistry, manufacture and controls of the vaccine” and information on clinical trials.

Editor’s note: SciCheck’s COVID-19/vaccination project is made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Foundation has no control over FactCheck.org’s editorial decisions, and the views expressed in our articles do not necessarily reflect the Foundation’s views. The project aims to increase access to accurate information about COVID-19 and vaccines while reducing the impact of misinformation.


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