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WHO’s Tedros Ghebreyesus did get vaccinated against Covid-19. Ignore old video shared with different claim

IN SHORT: A video clip claiming the World Health Organization’s chief, Tedros Ghebreyesus, did not get the Covid-19 vaccine has resurfaced on social media. But Ghebreyesus has confirmed numerous times that he received the jab. The circulating video is taken out of context.

A video circulating on X (formerly Twitter) claims to show the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Ghebreyesus, saying he has not been vaccinated against the coronavirus. 

The video was initially popular on social media in August 2022. The same claim was debunked by fact-checking organisations FullFact and AP news in 2022, and again by Health Feedback in July 2023. 

Despite this, the video has resurfaced in September 2023, like in this post where it has been viewed over 400,000 times in just a few days. The video is captioned: “The Guy Incharge Of Telling Everyone Else To Get Boosters Now, Doesn't Even Have The First Shot.” 

The post also received attention in South Africa from Beverley Schäfer, deputy speaker of the Western Cape’s provincial parliament. She reposted it, saying Tedros was trying “to spin a story about Africa as to why he didn't take the [vaccine]”. 

But what’s the truth behind this video clip?


Original clip from 2021 documentary, WHO chief got the jab

Just as there was in 2022, there is clear and easily accessible evidence in 2023 that this claim is not accurate.  

The video clip of an interview between Ghebreyesus and a science writer is taken from a 2021 documentary called How to Survive a Pandemic, as AP news reported

The interviewer asks Ghebreyesus when he was vaccinated and he responds: “Still I feel like I know where I belong: in a poor country called Ethiopia, in a poor continent called Africa, and [I] wanted to wait until Africa and other countries in other regions, low-income countries, start vaccination. So I was protesting, in other words, because we’re failing.” 

He had spoken out before about unequal access to the Covid-19 vaccine. 

However, social media users years later are responding to this video clip as confirmation that the WHO director-general has chosen not to receive the vaccine at all, alluding to conspiracy theories that the vaccine is unsafe or dangerous. 

But Ghebreyesus tweeted a photo of himself being vaccinated in May 2021. 

He also confirmed this during a media briefing on 14 May: “Earlier this week, I was vaccinated against Covid-19”. 

In an article published in June 2021, the interviewer in the video clip wrote that when he asked Ghebreyesus what date he got his first shot, he replied “May 12”. This part was not included in the final cut of the documentary, the interviewer told AP news,

Ghebreyesus had already been vaccinated at the time of the interview and had said so in the interview.

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