Facts Matter: Pet reader doesn't show microchip from coronavirus vaccine

Updated 7/17/2021 6:24 PM

A video that has been viewed more than 15 million times on TikTok and shared on Facebook claims to indicate a microchip in the arm of a person who received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The clip focuses on a woman at an Ohio veterinary clinic who says to someone off camera, "Look what I just figured out, Justine," as she scans one arm with a microchip reader for pets. The scanner shows nothing until the reader is pointed toward her "vaccinated arm" and a series of numbers appear on the device.


This video is fake. According to Factcheck.org, "A list of the ingredients used in COVID-19 vaccines is publicly available, and the ingredients don't include microchips."

It would not be possible to receive a microchip that would be detected in this way. The microchip that the pet reader would be detecting is about the size of a grain of rice. The tube on the needle used for the COVID-19 vaccines is less than half a millimeter wide.

The person who originally posted the video said it was meant as a joke, Factcheck.org reports. As it was shared, the post was not labeled satire. One Facebook user's post of the video, which was viewed 11,000 times, falsely claimed, "They are literally tagging and tracking everybody taking the Jab."

Biden didn't kneel before Israeli president

In a gesture of humor and appreciation, President Joe Biden knelt before an Israeli official when he learned the chief of staff was a mother of 12.

During a June 28 White House meeting, outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and his chief of staff Rivka Ravitz were with the president when Biden, who has four children of his own, got down on one knee to honor Ravitz for balancing motherhood with her government job, according to The Associated Press.

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The moment was captured by Israeli government press photographer Haim Zach. In the photo, Biden has his head bowed and Rivlin and Ravitz are looking down on the president and smiling. Zach told the AP that Biden said, as a Catholic man, he wanted to show his admiration to Ravitz as a mother.

But some social media users changed the story.

"Biden Kneels Before Israeli President; Pledges Unconditional Support to Israel," read an Instagram post that included Zach's photo. The miscaptioned image also circulated on Facebook.

According to a White House news release, Biden offered "his unwavering support" for Israel and a "commitment to deepening the cooperation between the two countries." The statement didn't mention kneeling before Rivlin or unconditional support.

Body in photo isn't Haitian president

Haitian president Jovenel Moïse was killed at his home on July 7. First lady Martine Moïse was injured during the attack.

Shortly after the assassination, a photo of a man lying on the pavement covered in blood appeared on WhatsApp along with the claim that the dead man in the image was Moïse and this was proof of his death.


But this isn't a photo of Moïse, according to The Associated Press. The photo shows Monferrier Dorval, a lawyer who was head of the bar association in the capital of Haiti and was killed outside his home on Aug. 29, 2020.

During a protest last September demanding justice for Dorval, a protester laid down in the street, covered by graphic photos of the slain lawyer. The photo posted on WhatsApp purporting to be Moïse was among those used by the demonstrator and captured by an Associated Press photographer covering the protest.

Post shows wrong tortoise

A post circulating on social media claims to show the world's oldest know terrestrial animal.

"Say hello to Jonathan. He was born in 1832 and is 189 years old," reads a Facebook post. "He was 30 during the Civil War. He is the oldest known living terrestrial animal in the world."

But the tortoise pictured isn't Jonathan, according to USA Today. It's a much younger Galapagos tortoise named Hugo, 70, who lives at the Australian Reptile Park.

"The photo makes the rounds on Reddit every couple of months or so, claiming to be Jonathan!" park spokeswoman Caitlin Vine told USA Today. "Jonathan is a real tortoise but he's actually a Seychelles giant tortoise, a subspecies of the Aldabra giant tortoise."

Zookeeper Dan Rumsey took the picture of Hugo and posted it on Instagram in 2019.

Jonathan, who experts estimate was born in 1832, has been named the world's oldest land animal by Guinness World Records. He has lived on the grounds of the Plantation House on the island of St. Helena since he was brought there in 1882.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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