Anti-vaxx groups and some doctors are advocating for, among other things, borax baths, NBC News reports, in an effort to “undo” the covid-19 vaccine they’ve already taken. The intended audience for the baths supposedly regrets getting the covid-19 vaccine because they’ve consumed other misinformation. It’s worth noting that there is no way to reverse the vaccine.
In a video previously circulating on TikTok, versions of which are on Facebook with no fact-check label, internal medicine specialist and prominent anti-vaxx misinformation hawker Dr. Carrie Madej can be seen stating the formula into a microphone. She claims that her “detox bath” extracts radiation poisoning, pesticides, heavy metals, and “some” parasites, with ingredients which have long mistakenly circulated as magic bullet detoxifiers. She recommends baking soda and epsom salt (for radiation), bentonite clay (for fungus and yeast), and a whole cup of borax (for nanotechnology). “Scrub down, scrub down, scrub down,” she says, “20 minutes, as hot as you tolerate it, right?”
Health experts widely agree that toxins can only be absorbed by, but not removed through, the skin. But hypothetically, anything could defeat liquid nanotechnology, because it is imaginary.
Scrubbing down your body with borax, a cleaning agent which can kill cockroaches, is unwise. The National Library of Medicine has deemed borax a health hazard, and World Health Organization-affiliated researchers have found that, in high enough doses, it can cause nausea, convulsions, diarrhea, headaches, weakness, and drowsiness.
Madej’s broader belief system gets even more, uh, dubious. She claims the vaccine contains liquefied nanotechnology that programs human behavior with AI, so that atheists can upload your consciousness to the cloud and “download” them into hologram avatars. (I won’t link.) If that doesn’t raise a little doubt, consider the fact that she claimed to have figured this out before the vaccine was even administered to the public. Madej was unable to study the vaccine, and she provides no reliable source for this information.
Madej’s video is contributing to the torrent of unmoderated covid-19 vaccine misinformation circulating on social media, prominently by people who are or who claim to be doctors, and this misinformation is quite literally killing people, including its proponents. NBC News reports that anti-vaxxers are also promoting cupping and blood drawing as vaccine extraction methods. TikTok still shows reams of #vaccinedetox videos, including a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and an assortment of pantry items beside a bathtub. They can be found on Instagram Reels, too, of course, through a vaccine information interstitial, showing assortments of vitamins, homeopathic medicines, and spray bottles.
TikTok has evidently removed the viral video, though less-viewed reposts are still searchable. Facebook still platforms Madej, where she posted today that her Twitter account was suspended.
If Facebook removed just 12 accounts, the Center for Countering Digital Hate has found, it could get rid of 65% of vaccine misinformation on the site. On a related note, we’ve reached the point at which one in three U.S. residents report that a family member or close friend has died of covid-19.
Neither Facebook nor TikTok were available to respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
Update 11/13/2021 12:49pm EST: TikTok confirmed to Gizmodo that it has removed the original video of Madej as well as Duets.
Update 11/13/2021 2:40pm EST: A Meta spokesperson told Gizmodo that Facebook’s “comprehensive approach” to fighting misinformation includes: “removing more than 20 million pieces of content that break our COVID misinformation policies, permanently banning thousands of repeat offenders from our services, connecting more than 2 billion people to reliable information about COVID-19 and vaccines, and partnering with independent fact-checkers covering more than 60 languages around the world to address false claims.”