Fact Check: Did the World Health Organisation chief say that booster shots of COVID vaccine are to kill children?

Quick Take

A viral video on social media shows Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, chief of the World Health Organisation (WHO), speaking about prioritising vaccination for poorer countries and vulnerable people over children. Social media users interpreted his statement as a revelation on COVID booster shots being used “to kill children”. We fact-checked and found the claim to be False.

The Claim

“Giving boosters to kill children, says head of the WHO” writes a social media user. “They are telling you people!! Please listen!” writes another social media user. The original video and posts can be seen here, here, and here.

Fact Check

Did the World Health Organisation chief say that booster dose of COVID vaccines are given to kill children?

No. Though the video sounds like “kill children”, a spokesperson of WHO later clarified that it was because the WHO chief stumbled while speaking.

The WHO spokesperson has confirmed to Reuters that “Tedros got stuck on the first syllable [of children] ‘chil’ and it came out sounding like ‘cil/kil.’ He then correctly pronounced the same syllable immediately after, with it coming out audibly as ‘cil-children. Any other interpretation of this is 100% incorrect”.

A transcribed version of the news conference is available on the WHO website.

When did this incident happen?

The incident happened on December 20, 2021 during the media briefing for Geneva-based journalists on the need of prioritising vaccination.

Tedros was speaking about prioritising vaccination efforts in poor countries over giving booster shots.

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