A text message is being shared on WhatsApp, with an audio clip and a screenshot of a Bluetooth network list, claiming that people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine were detectable on Bluetooth-enabled devices with codes.
The person speaking on the audio clip states that they found codes showing up on their mobile phone’s Bluetooth network list around vaccinated people, both at their workplace as well as on their commute back home.
However, we found that there was no basis to this claim. The vaccine composition for both Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield contain a list of standard chemicals, with the exception of the weakened or inactivated COVID-19 virus.
The text message, which is being shared with a voice note and a screenshot, states:
"Listen this audio message by one AIM supporter working in Indian Naval Service(Technical). Check your bluetooth while you are near Covid Vaccinated individuals. They will show as a device seeking connection with your bluetooth activated smartphone. The Vaccinated are being injected with Quantum ID Technology. See the screenshot below"
The audio clip sent with the claim speaks to one “Vikas bhai (brother)” and informs him that the speaker attempted to connect to a Bluetooth device at his workplace, where the connection list displayed five- or six-digit codes when they were around six to seven vaccinated people.
Another video, which was earlier being shared in other countries, has now made its way to groups on Telegram making the same claim.
WHAT WE FOUND
We looked up the keywords "quantum ID technology" and found results about a Pune-based software company. There were no webpages discussing injectable identification technology and the search returned no results discussing COVID-19 vaccines and vaccinations either.
We further checked Bharat Biotech's website for information regarding their vaccine, Covaxin, and found a fact sheet related to it. It detailed ingredients, interactions, side effects and other related information.
Similarly, we checked the Serum Institute of India's website for details about their vaccine, Covishield, where we found the link to a fact sheet, a product insert, and a 'FAQ' section. After going through all three documents and pages, we failed to find any mention of 'Bluetooth' or identification information, like the claim states.
Covishield’s FAQ section answered previous myths surrounding their vaccine, such as animal products being used in them and the rumours that advised menstruating women against getting vaccinated during their periods.
We contacted Dr Sumit Ray, critical care specialist at Holy Family Hospital in Delhi, for further information regarding the claim.
"“I don’t think there is something like that in liquid form yet. To inject in liquid form, a chip that could be detected by Bluetooth is unlikely. Governments across the world have used electronic apps for healthcare. As an injectable vaccine, I don’t think a liquid vaccine has the ability to have something which could be detectable by Bluetooth.”" - Dr Sumit Ray, Critical Care Specialist, Holy Family Hospital, Delhi
He added that vaccines were being used across the world and the cost and volume of producing something that could show up on Bluetooth “would not be as easy as it is”.
Another similar claim about vaccines containing “RFID chips” to track people has been debunked by us before.
Reuters has also fact-checked this claim, which was made internationally as well. In their findings, they debunked claims related specifically to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Clearly, the claim that people injected with vaccines showing up on Bluetooth networks as devices seeking connection has no evidence to back it. Rumours such as this one increase vaccine hesitancy, and it can counter the immunisation drive.
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