FACT-CHECK: No, WHO Did Not Send Message on COVID-19 Vaccine

VERDICT: False

CLAIM:

On August 20, 2020, fact-checkers at Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) came across an article published on Myafricatoday claiming that the World Health Organization sent an important message to the world on a Coronavirus vaccine. 

The report headlined “Breaking-news world health organization sends important message to the world on coronavirus vaccines”, said WHO’s Secretary-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, has revisited research on COVID-19 vaccine and its accessibility to the world.

According to the blog, WHO is working closely with various sectors and governments to ensure the availability of COVID-19 vaccine for all.

The report said WHO’s decision comes at a time when some countries are opting to sell the vaccine, when available, at a high fee to nations vulnerable to the pandemic.

FACT

WHO did not send messages to “the world” or leaders of countries regarding COVID-19 vaccine or its availability.

A review of the report by the blog also shows that no part of the content had the message purportedly sent to the world leaders by the WHO.

Also, on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, Dr Ghebreyesus at the WHO’s briefing on COVID-19, discussed challenges of logistics involved in combatting the pandemic.

Ghebreyesus in his statement highlighted numerous logistic failures in the initial response to the disease.

He said: “Supply nationalism exacerbated the pandemic and contributed to the total failure of the global supply chain.” 

Dr Ghebreyesus said this led to the lack of key supplies for dealing with the novel coronavirus in several nations. 

Further checks by the CDD show that a day later, during the weekly Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis also spoke on the need for the COVID-19 vaccine to be accessible by everyone. 

The Pope said that plans to treat the disease should prioritize those who are most in need. 

He said: “It would be sad if, for the vaccine for Covid-19, priority were to be given to the richest! It would be sad if this vaccine were to become the property of this nation or another, rather than universal and for all.”

Further responding to Pope Francis’ remarks, Dr Ghebreyesus said: “I couldn’t agree more with Your Holiness,” he wrote in a tweet on Thursday evening. 

Also, checks by the centre revealed that Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker only shows that a few pharmaceutical companies are getting to the third stage of vaccine approval. 

CONCLUSION:

The claim that WHO sent messages to the world and leaders of nations on a vaccine or its accessibility is false.

CDD urges the public to disregards the message and always ensure they verify reports before disseminating them.

You can send claims and messages to CDD for verification; messages can be sent via +2349062910568.

#StopFakeNews

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa