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No, undated article misleads on vaccination rates and cases of Covid in Africa

IN SHORT: A screenshot circulating on social media claims Covid has vanished from Africa even though only 6% of the continent’s population is vaccinated. The article this is taken from was published in 2021. It was misleading then, and is more so in 2023. 

“Africa is only 6% vaccinated, and covid has practically disappeared... scientists ‘baffled’.”

CovidVaccine Africa Meta Check

That’s the headline of a screenshot of what seems to be a news article circulating on social media since late January 2023.

The article is undated. Its masthead is Newstarget, underscored with the words “uncensored and independent media news”.

It can be seen here on Instagram, and here, here and here on Twitter. (The platform Twitter was rebranded “X” in July.)

Is it true that only 6% of people in Africa have been vaccinated against Covid, yet the disease has “disappeared” from the continent?

‘Plandemic basically non-existent in Africa’

The screenshot is of a real article, published on the website Newstarget. But the article was published on 22 November 2021, not in 2023. 

It is misleading that the screenshot is recirculating, undated, in mid-2023, nearly two years after the article was first published. 

“Almost nobody in Africa is getting ‘vaccinated’ for the Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19), and as a result there is almost no covid anywhere to be found on the continent,” the article reads.

“The latest reports from the mainstream media admit that the plandemic is basically non-existent in Africa, which is confusing to those who believe the narrative that the jabs are helping to eradicate disease.”

Wuhan is the city in China where the coronavirus that causes Covid was first reported, in December 2019. “Plandemic” refers to a discredited conspiracy theory that the worldwide outbreak of the disease was somehow planned by shadowy global elites.

At the time of the article’s publication, roughly 77 million people or about 6% of Africa’s population were reported to have been fully vaccinated against Covid, according to an October 2021 press release from the World Health Organization (WHO).

This is borne out by Our World in Data.

CovidVaccine Africa Meta Check

By January 2023, the share of people in Africa reported to have been fully vaccinated against Covid had risen to more than 28%.

CovidVaccine Africa Meta Check

More than this, Covid hadn’t “disappeared” from the continent in November 2021. More than 220,000 people were reported to have died from the disease.

CovidVaccine Africa Meta Check

And some 8.6 million people would still become ill.

CovidVaccine Africa Meta Check

All of these are only the reported numbers of sickness and death caused by Covid in Africa. Several studies indicate that cases of the disease, and fatalities caused by it, have been less accurately recorded in Africa than elsewhere in the world.

For example, in October 2021 the WHO estimated that “only 14.2% – or one in seven – Covid-19 infections are being detected in Africa”.

The Poynter Institute’s Politifact calls Newstarget “a website promoting sensationalised stories”. The website Media Bias/Fact Check goes further: “Overall, we rate News Target a quackery level pseudoscience and a tin foil hat conspiracy website, as well as extreme right-wing biased. This is one of the most discredited sources on the internet.”

The screenshot comes from an article that was misleading in 2021. The undated headline circulating in 2023 is even more misleading.



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