Fact check: Feds buy syringes that may have RFID chips, but no evidence COVID-19 vaccination required

Chelsey Cox

The claim: The Defense Department ordered enough pre-filled syringes with RFID tracking devices to prepare for military-backed, forced coronavirus vaccinations 

A claim stating that the U.S. government has ordered syringes with RFID tracking devices ahead of vaccinations for coronavirus has gained attention online. 

Natural News, a vehicle of "activist-turned-scientist" Mike Adams, according to its website, is a main source of the claim.

Breaking Israel News referenced Natural News in its report on the topic.

"Those who think the government is planning on forcing every American to inject themselves with a coronavirus vaccine may have just received an indication confirming their fears," David Sidman of Breaking Israel News wrote in reference to a May 12 news release from the Defense Department.

The news release outlines a $138 million contract between the Department of Health and Human Services, DOD and ApiJect Systems America, a manufacturer of pre-filled syringes. The partnership will launch "Project Jumpstart" and “RAPID USA,” two efforts that will expand the production of U.S.-based injection devices, according to the DOD.

“'Jumpstart' will enable the manufacture of more than 100 million prefilled syringes for distribution across the United States by year-end 2020," Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews stated in the news release.

What is RAPID USA?

Rapid Aseptic Packaging of Injectable Drugs, or RAPID, is the name of a consortium funded by the government's partnership with ApiJect Systems.

By establishing high-speed manufacturing lines of pre-filled syringes on U.S. soil, RAPID could help strengthen the nation's response to bio-emergencies by making up to 330 million pre-filled syringes a month. Factories would otherwise be used to package medicines, according to the RAPID website.

"These supplies can be used if a successful SARS-COV-2 vaccine is oral or intranasal rather than injectable," Andrews said.

Will it be mandatory to vaccinate against the coronavirus?

The news release states the production goal for the prefilled syringes is 500 million units in 2021. Efforts will be launched in Connecticut, South Carolina and Illinois with the potential for expansion, Andrews said.

"RAPID’s permanent fill-finish production capability will help significantly decrease the United States’ dependence on offshore supply chains and its reliance on older technologies with much longer production lead times. These supplies can be used if a successful SARS-COV-2 vaccine is oral or intranasal rather than injectable," the release stated.

On May 13, Natural News' Adams reported on a possible military-enforced vaccination mandate for all American citizens.

"If coronavirus vaccines were planned to be optional – respecting the vaccine choice of individuals – not more than 100 million doses would be needed. The fact that 500 million doses are being manufactured is an admission that the DoD and HHS plan to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory," Adams wrote.

However, Adams amended his article when the White House released a video of a May 15 news conference where President Donald Trump addressed the claim.

"We're looking for a full vaccine for everyone that wants to get it," Trump said. "Not everybody's gonna want to get it."

HHS Secretary Alex Azar elaborated on the president's statement during the same news conference.

"We're working for a fully approved vaccine. But we'll also use the tools we have, for instance emergency-use authorization, as appropriate. We use all of our regulatory tools to (make the) vaccine available for the entire American population by January," Azar said.

Still, Adams floated the possibility of mandatory vaccination at the state level.

"Even if Trump does not push for mandatory vaccines at the federal level, governors may require vaccines at the state level. And this means America will likely be divided into 'vaccine SLAVE states' vs. 'anti-vaccine FREE states.'”

Adams did not respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.

States generally require vaccines against some communicable diseases for public and private schoolchildren, college and university students, and health care workers and patients in certain facilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Do the prefilled syringes feature RFID tracking?

Radio frequency (RFID) and near field identification chips can be affixed to the label of a prefilled syringe, according to RAPID USA's website.

If this option were used, a health care worker could remotely track the time and place of each injection in real-time via a free mobile phone app.

Our rating: Partly false

The DOD and HHS did contract with ApiJect Systems, a company that makes pre-filled syringes, for a mass-production supply chain during an emergency. RFID/NFC tracking is an optional feature of the syringes, according to the RAPID Consortium.

But there is no evidence the contract is a precursor to law-enforced vaccination on the federal or state levels. Trump said that once the coronavirus vaccine becomes available, immunization will be optional. Moreover, generally states only require vaccinations for certain individuals.

We rate this claim as PARTLY FALSE because some of it was not supported by our research.

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