A widely shared claim on social media alleges seven children died in Senegal after receiving injections against COVID-19 as part of a “mass vaccination”. Some examples of the claim can be seen here , here , here and here .
One post reads: “Have y’all heard? 7 children drop dead immediately after receiving COVID-19 vaccine, that is currently being tested on the Senegal people of West Africa #wedonotconsent”
Other iterations of this claim feature a video with a French voiceover saying: “There’s a big scandal in Senegal. A guy went into a house to vaccinate children for the coronavirus problem. He vaccinated seven children who died on the spot” ( here ).
These claims are false.
Senegalese authorities confirmed no one had died from a presumed “coronavirus vaccine” and said this misinformation stemmed from a misunderstanding.
French state-owned news outlet France 24 reported that the original version of the video circulating in some iterations of the claim was narrated in the Wolof language (spoken in Senegal) and made no mention of children dying. The original version of the video is visible here .
France 24 said the Wolof version of the audio described how a person was arrested after entering a family home and saying he was there to administer vaccinations against the coronavirus. But it said this version of the March 26 incident near the capital Dakar was also misleading. Witnesses told France 24 that the man had a bag of cosmetic products for sale, but was pretending to be an agent of the health ministry warning people about the coronavirus threat and telling them to take precautions such as handwashing. The witnesses confirmed nobody died in the incident ( here ).
This false claim comes amidst a racism row in France over two doctors’ widely criticized suggestion that a COVID-19 trial, using the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis, should first be tested on Africans ( here ).
Reuters Fact Check recently debunked a false claim that the United Nations planned to test vaccines in Africa here .
As of mid-April 2020 there is no vaccine to prevent or treat the new coronavirus ( here ). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are currently 70 vaccines in development phases around the world. Three candidate vaccines are already in clinical trials but none of them in Senegal ( here ).
Reuters recently reported China approved early-stage human tests for two experimental coronavirus vaccines developed in Beijing and Wuhan ( here ).
False claim: No vaccination against COVID-19 was administered in Senegal, and no children were killed
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work here .
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