Back to Africa Check

Vaccines (19)

This article is more than 3 years old

Priest didn’t die from Moderna vaccine, jab doesn’t contain aborted foetal tissue

graphic shared on Facebook claims that a Catholic priest died “After Receiving Moderna's COVID Vaccine That Utilizes Aborted Fetal Tissue”. It isn't true.

Yes, AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine made with genetically modified chimpanzee virus, but let’s explain

number of Facebook posts express concern about the ingredients in the vaccine against Covid-19 developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Some posts suggest that the vaccine contains a chimpanzee virus similar to HIVcontains chimpanzee DNA, or that it is a chimpanzee virus modified to be infectious in humans.

There is an element of truth to these claims, but there’s nothing sinister or alarming going on. We tell you why.

No link between Covid-19 vaccine and death of US baseball player Hank Aaron

“Aaron Hank baseball legend got the Covid vaccine shot a week ago to send black people a message and died a week later,” reads text on a graphic posted on Facebook in South Africa on 23 January 2021. But the claims it makes are misleading.

Yes, South African law firm says bosses may be able to dismiss workers who refuse Covid vaccine

post circulating on Facebook in February 2021 quotes South African law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr as saying employers in the country may have grounds to dismiss workers for refusing to take the Covid-19 vaccine. 

The post was flagged by Facebook’s fact-checking system as possibly false. But it’s true. 

No, Switzerland hasn’t banned AstraZeneca vaccine, but requested more data for approval

graphic circulating on Facebook in South Africa in February 2021 claims that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 has been banned in Switzerland. This is misleading.

Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines are vaccines – not anything else

“Only governments are calling it a vaccine,” reads a message posted and shared many times on Facebook.

“They think if they call it a vaccine long enough, people will think it is.” It then claims that Pfizer and Moderna, two pharma companies who have developed Covid-19 vaccines, describe them in more ominous terms. This is incorrect.

Death of 10 in Germany after Covid-19 vaccine a coincidence, not likely linked to shot, experts say

screenshot of an article with an alarming headline has been widely shared on Facebook in South Africa and the US. Dated 14 January 2021, it reads: “10 Dead in Germany after Receiving Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.” 

No, South Africa’s deputy chief justice Zondo didn’t say politician should get Covid-19 vaccine first

“They should try the Vaccine at Politicians first cause if we lose a few of Them, it won’t really matter at all,” reads text above a photo on a graphic posted on Facebook.

The photo shows South Africa’s deputy chief justice, judge Raymond Zondo, talking and gesturing. But the graphic makes false claims.

‘I’ll pass on that shot’? Suspicion about Covid-19 vaccines confuses how vaccines work

A message circulating on Facebook casts doubt on Covid-19 vaccines, given how quickly these potentially life-saving inoculations have been developed. But the claims it makes are misleading.

Covid-19 not modified malaria, vaccine against coronavirus needed everywhere

Covid-19 is no different to malaria and can be treated with antimalarial drugs, so there’s no need for a Covid-19 vaccine in Africa, claims a message posted on the “Radio Biafra London” Facebook page in January 2021. But this is false.

No, Robert F Kennedy didn’t say mRNA Covid vaccines damage our genetic material – and they can’t

Robert F Kennedy Jr, nephew of US president John F Kennedy and son of politician Robert F Kennedy – both assassinated in the 1960s – says mRNA Covid-19 vaccines will alter people’s genetic material. At least, that’s according to a January 2021 Facebook post that quotes Kennedy at length, in Afrikaans. It's false.

No, Covid-19 vaccines won’t modify human DNA

post doing the rounds on Facebook in South Africa says the concern that Covid-19 vaccines can modify human DNA is valid. This is false.

Antiviral medicine remdesivir not a Covid-19 vaccine, and distributed worldwide – not just in Africa

“Could the Corona experts explain why this vaccine is restricted to African countries only?” asks a message posted on Facebook in Kenya in January 2020. “As far as I know, we have only one Covid-19 affecting both Africa, EU, Canada and the US.” This is incorrect.

No, US nurse Tiffany Dover not killed by Covid-19 vaccine

The hashtag #tiffanydover started trending on Twitter in December 2020 when a nurse in Chattanooga, in the US state of Tennessee, fainted after receiving her first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. The claims made around her were false.

China didn’t recover from Covid-19 without vaccines – and Tanzanian president Magufuli didn’t make claim

graphic shared widely on Facebook claims that Tanzanian president John Magufuli has questioned why Africa needs Covid-19 vaccines when China has recovered from the pandemic without them.

No, doctors aren’t ‘encouraging’ Covid-19 vaccine jabs in the penis

As Covid-19 vaccines are being rolled out in several countries, a screenshot of what seems to be an article with a startling headline is flooding social media. “Doctors encourage Covid-19 vaccine injections in penis,” its headline reads. It is false.

Yes, Australia abandoned Covid-19 vaccine after false positive HIV test results

“Australia abandons vaccine attempt, after the shot wrongly gave some people positive HIV test results,” reads a screenshot of what seems to be a social media post by the website Business Insider, shared on Instagram in South Africa on 6 January 2021. It is accurate.

Yes, Gates foundation pledged millions of dollars for Covid-19 vaccines in late 2020

An article shared widely on Facebook in Nigeria has the headline “Bill Gates Pledges $70m To Ensure Entire World Gets Covid-19 Vaccine”. It is correct.

No, photos of feet don’t show ‘adverse reaction’ to Covid-19 vaccine

Two photos of feet with a distressing skin condition have been shared on Facebook in South Africa, with the claim that it is the result of the Covid-19 vaccine. This is incorrect.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.