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No, seven children in Senegal weren’t killed by fake coronavirus vaccine

“This thing that has arrived in Africa has already killed seven children. It is not a vaccine for coronavirus,” says a woman in a video circulating on WhatsApp in South Africa. It is not clear when the video was made, but Africa Check received it on 20 April 2020.

The woman does not give her name or profession. In a 10-minute video, she warns Africans not to accept vaccines from China, claiming that the Chinese government wants to kill the “African population” with fake vaccines. She claims that seven children died in Senegal after being given the fake vaccine.

“There is no vaccine. So whatever the hell they have sent to Africa, I believe Senegal if I’m correct, is not a vaccine for coronavirus,” she says.

A 26-minute version of the video was published on Facebook on 16 April. 

The Chinese government has sent medical supplies to help in the treatment of Covid-19, to be distributed to 18 African countries, including Ghana and Senegal. The shipment arrived in Accra, Ghana on 6 April.

Did seven children in Senegal die after being injected with a fake coronavirus vaccine sent by the Chinese government? We checked.

Man arrested in Senegal was selling cosmetics and traditional medicines

Les Observateurs, an affiliate of France24 that investigates amateur videos and photographs, has fact-checked a French-language video circulating on Facebook. The video claimed to show a man in Senegal being arrested after injecting seven children with a Covid-19 vaccine. The children are claimed to have died on the spot. 

Les Observateurs found the original Wolof-language version of the video. In the original, a voice says the man was arrested after claiming to have Covid-19 vaccines. It does not mention seven children dying. 

The fact-check says the incident took place in Pikine, Senegal on 26 March. A man wearing a T-shirt with a health department logo told people he had a coronavirus vaccine, but he was actually selling traditional medicines and cosmetics. He was arrested for pretending to be a public agent in order to get into people’s homes. 

A spokesperson for Senegal’s health department confirmed most of these details to the AFP, but said the man “never wanted to vaccinate people”. 

The spokesperson said: “He was passing by a house, and the resident’s aunt started causing panic when she heard the word ‘coronavirus’. A crowd of people gathered outside, thinking this man wanted to vaccinate people by force.”

China sent medical equipment, not vaccines

We have previously fact-checked the claim that China has sent coronavirus vaccines to Africa and found it to be false. 

According to the Chinese embassy in Ghana, China donated medical personal protective equipment like N95 face masks, medical protective suits, goggles, gloves and temporal artery thermometers.

The donated supplies did not include vaccines and, according to the World Health Organization, there is currently no vaccine for Covid-19. 

There are 70 possible vaccines in clinical and preclinical evaluation. The first phases of human clinical trials are underway in the US, UK, and China. – Naledi Mashishi


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