Doctor falsely tells Ohio lawmakers covid shot magnetises people as state grapples with anti-vaxx movement

·3 min read
<p>Dr Sherri Tenpenny, who told the Ohio legislature that coronavirus vaccines “magnetize” people and suggested they “interface” with 5G cellular towers</p> (Screengrab)

Dr Sherri Tenpenny, who told the Ohio legislature that coronavirus vaccines “magnetize” people and suggested they “interface” with 5G cellular towers

(Screengrab)

A doctor in Ohio told a panel of state lawmakers that the coronavirus vaccine "magnetised" people and promoted 5G conspiracy theories on the statehouse floor.

Dr Sherri Tenpenny, a doctor based in Cleveland and the author of the book Saying No to Vaccines, appeared before legislators on Tuesday to voice her concerns about the vaccines.

Tyler Buchanan of the Ohio Capitol Journal reported that Dr Tenpenny was testifying in favour of a bill that would prohibit any Ohio business or school from mandating vaccine use when she made the comments.

“I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures all over the Internet of people who have had these shots and now they’re magnetised,” Dr Tenpenny said. “They can put a key on their forehead. It sticks. They can put spoons and forks all over them and they can stick, because now we think that there’s a metal piece to that.”

The doctor complained that 5,000 people had died from the vaccine – without offering any evidence – and said that if even half that number were true it would be grounds for the government to quit pushing the vaccine.

No deaths have been linked directly to a person receiving a coronavirus vaccine.

She then went on to claim that the vaccines "interface" with 5G cellular towers, but she did not elaborate on what that actually meant.

Despite her testimony being riddled with nonsense and conspiracy theories, few Ohio lawmakers pushed back against her claims. Some Republicans in the state's legislature even praised her testimony and her podcast, which they called "enlightening in terms of thinking."

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According to The Washington Post, another Ohio Republican, Jennifer L Gross, told the doctor it was "an honour to have you here." Ms Gross is a nurse and once compared businesses requiring vaccinations to the Holocaust.

A day before Dr Tenpenny shared her views on the vaccines, the Ohio Department of Health held a news event where doctors worked to dispel misinformation about the shots.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, enacted the state's "Vaxamillion" lottery to try to encourage residents to take the shot by offering large cash prize giveaways. Despite his support for the vaccination effort, Republican lawmakers in the state have opposed him.

The state’s Republican legislature has taken radical positions on the coronavirus since it cropped up in the US last year. They attempted to strip the power from the state's then-Department of Health Director Amy Action, who was praised early on during the pandemic for her frequent and empathetic briefings and decisive action.

Ms Acton was eventually run out of her position by the combined pressure from GOP lawmakers and their constituents, with some of the latter picketing outside her house and sending her death threats for enacting lockdowns during the pandemic.

State Representative Brian Stewart was one of the few Republicans to give Dr Tenpenny anything resembling resistance, asking her: "Of the five-and-a-half million Ohioans who have gotten the covid-19 vaccine shot through today or the last six months, how many do you believe have been killed by that shot?"

"So, I don't know," she replied.

Dr Tenpenny – whose testimony went viral – defended her testimony to The Washington Post.

“I do believe greatly that people should have a choice on what gets injected to their bodies because once you have injected it you can’t uninject it,” she said.

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