Social media users have falsely claimed a video shows Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke pretending to receive the coronavirus vaccine to “encourage compliance”. While the clip does show a Flemish minister, it is not Vandenbroucke – nor was the minister supposed to be receiving a vaccine.
Examples of posts sharing the video can be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here). It shows a nurse acting out the process of administering an injection – and she appears to be using a needleless-syringe. One caption accompanying the videos reads: “Belgian health minister pretends to take the vaccine. But there is no needle. Why not?” Another adds: “Cameras flashing. Tons of theatrics. Nothing suspicious about a massive PR program to ensure compliance. A Belgian Health Minister doing ‘his part’ to keep everyone safe.”
One Instagram account claims the lack of needle is a plan to “mock us” as it is “a trademark move of the devil”.
Firstly, the clip does not show Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke; it shows Vice Minister-President of the Flemish Government Bart Somers. Secondly, the footage was captured in February during a test run at a vaccination centre.
On Feb. 1, Somers and fifty volunteers took part in a so-called “dry run” at the De Kimpel vaccination centre in Bilzen (here, here). The simulation was set up to unearth logistical issues at the centre ahead of the actual vaccine roll out. The social media clip of Somers was taken from a news report discussing this test run.
On his Facebook page, Somers wrote that the footage (here, here) showed the De Kimpel vaccination centre being “extensively tested” thanks to the dry run. The syringe used on him was not real, he added.
False. The video shows Bart Somers, the vice minister-president of the Flemish government, during a test run at a vaccination centre. A needless syringe was not used because the minister was taking part in a test ahead of the vaccination rollout.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here.
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