Sherri Tenpenny, a Cleveland-based doctor invited as an expert witness Tuesday to a hearing in the Ohio House, had a grave warning for legislators about coronavirus vaccines.
The anti-vaccination advocate known for spreading unfounded claims falsely told legislators that the drugs could leave people “magnetized.”
“I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures all over the internet of people who have had these shots and now they’re magnetized,” 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.”
Her baseless remarks — which also suggested that vaccines “interface” with 5G cellular towers — didn’t elicit strong pushback from legislators, who were listening to testimony in favor of a bill that would prevent businesses or the government from requiring proof of vaccination.
Instead, some GOP representatives thanked Tenpenny for testifying in front of the Ohio House Health Committee, with one praising a podcast she hosts as “enlightening in terms of thinking.”
“What an honor to have you here,” said Rep. Jennifer L. Gross, R, a nurse who co-sponsored the bill and in a previous meeting compared businesses that require vaccinations to the Holocaust.
Tenpenny’s testimony, which has since gone viral, came a day after the Ohio Department of Health hosted a news conference where doctors dispelled vaccine misinformation. As a significant number of Republicans continue to resist the vaccines, GOP lawmakers in Ohio have pushed back against Gov. Mike DeWine’s campaign to increase the state’s vaccination numbers through efforts including a $1 million lottery.
More than 41 percent of Ohioans are fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. In the past week, the state’s 7-day average vaccination rate has fallen 17 percent.
Tenpenny, an osteopathic doctor and the author of “Saying No to Vaccines,” told The Post that she stands by her testimony, which included other false claims, including that more than 5,000 people had died in the United States as a result of the vaccines. (In fact, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker recently reported, no deaths in the United States have been proved to be a result of the coronavirus vaccines.)
“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 un-inject it,” Tenpenny told The Post.
At the Tuesday meeting, Tenpenny also claimed the vaccines are somehow connected to 5G, a next-generation technology that has been at the center of many coronavirus conspiracy theories.
“There’s been people who have long suspected that there’s been some sort of an interface, ‘yet to be defined’ interface, between what’s being injected in these shots and all of the 5G towers,” she said; this claim has been roundly rejected by experts.
Although most lawmakers refrained from asking Tenpenny questions about her sources of information and credentials during her Tuesday testimony, some did attempt to push back.
“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?” asked Rep. Brian Stewart, R.
“So, I don’t know,” Tenpenny replied.