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Yes, US mission to Nigeria congratulated Ogbuagu for contribution to Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine

“Nigerians contribute to the world in so many ways,” reads a screenshot of what seems to be a tweet posted on Facebook on 23 November 2020. “Our hats off to Dr Onyema Ogbuagbu at Yale who helped develop a COVID-19 vaccine!” 

The tweet appears to be from the account US Mission Nigeria, with the handle @USinNigeria.

It includes a graphic that shows a portrait of a man in a lab coat. Text on the graphic reads in part: “Dr Onyema Ogbuagbu, a Nigerian doctor, helped the drug company Pfizer develop the first effective COVID-19 vaccine in the United States!”

It continues: “Onyema is an associate professor of medicine and infectious disease at Yale School of Medicine. He graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Calabar in 2003.”

The screenshot was posted with the comment: “Proudly Nigerian.”

But Facebook’s fact-checking system has flagged the post as possibly false.

Is the screenshot of a real tweet? And did a Nigerian doctor named “Onyema Ogbuagbu” help develop the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19?



US diplomats congratulate Ogbuagu


The Twitter account US Mission Nigeria is both real and verified as belonging to the United States Diplomatic Mission Nigeria. The website of the US Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria links to the account, with the handle @USinNigeria.

And the tweet is real. An advanced Twitter search shows it was posted on the US diplomatic mission account on 23 November.



University of Calabar graduate


But the tweet gets the scientist’s name wrong. Dr Onyema Ogbuagu (not Ogbuagbu) is indeed an associate professor of medicine and infectious disease at Yale School of Medicine, as his profile on the school’s website attests.

The institution is the graduate medical school of Yale University in New Haven, a city in the US state of Connecticut.

Obguagu has been a principal investigator in Covid-19 therapy trials, and ran a Covid-19 vaccine trial at Yale.

He has appeared on ABC News Live in a segment in which he discusses the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

According to several profiles of Obguagu, he was born in New Haven, where his Nigeria-born parents were academics at Yale, but earned his MD degree at the University of Calabar in Nigeria’s Cross River state in 2003. – Africa Check

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