Anti-vaxxers attempt to remove vaccines with bleach

Bleach coming out of a bottle.
Photo credit Getty Images

Even though it is impossible to remove COVID-19 vaccines from someone’s body, anti-vaccine groups online have started circulating rumors that they can be extracted with bleach, magnets and more.

According to Business Insider, people are promoting toxic chlorine dioxide bleach – a chemical used to disinfect drinking water – both as a part of a “de-vaccination treatment” and as a potential cure for COVID-19. It is neither, said the outlet.

In August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about chlorine dioxide that said ingesting the chemical could have life-threatening, adverse effects such as: respiratory failure, electrical changes in the heart, low blood pressure, acute liver failure, low blood cell counts, severe vomiting and severe diarrhea. Additionally, the FDA sent a warning letter to Genesis 2 Church for manufacturing a product called “Miracle Mineral Solution” that contained the chemical.

Miracle Mineral Solution has been linked to seven deaths.

Andreas Kalcker is one of the people promoting use of chlorine dioxide bleach to “de-vaccinate” on the BitChute video hosting service, said Business Insider. He claims that COVID-19 vaccines contain graphene oxide, a chemical used in high-tech manufacturing, and that chlorine dioxide can rid the body of it.

A fact check report by Reuters found that COVID-19 vaccines do not contain graphene oxide.

Even so, conspiracy theories such as Kalcker’s are spreading on far-right and extremist platforms such as BitChute and the social media app Telegram. Business Insider said they are even popping up on mainstream platforms such as Facebook and TikTok.

Joe Ondrak, a disinformation expert and the lead researcher at Logically AI, said that it is hard to tell how far the theories are spreading in Facebook and Telegram, because online communities on those apps are often private. However, he said it is unlikely that the movement will grow much more.

Meta, Facebook's parent company, told Business Insider that its goal was to promote accurate information about COVID and vaccines and that it would remove groups spreading misinformation.

Bleach is not the only method of “de-vaccination” being promoted online.

According to Business Insider, BitChute also has a video of a man attempting to use electrodes, a strong magnet and “55 percent Montana whiskey” to remove a COVID-19 vaccine from a military veteran. Another shows a man making incisions with a razor.

Previously, online groups made headlines for promoting Ivermectin, a anti-parasite drug typically used to treat livestock animals such as horses, as a COVID-19 cure.

Vaccines approved in the U.S. are safe and effective at treating most COVID-19 infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Around 30 percent of the U.S. population was unvaccinated as of Nov. 24.