A series of viral videos claiming seven children died in Senegal soon after they were administered the doses of coronavirus vaccine has created a state of panic on the social media sites. While the social media was rife with the news, the Senegalese authorities have denied the deaths of the seven children in the country.
According to the Senegalese Ministry of Health and Social Action, the country has witnessed only 250 confirmed cases of the global pandemic, out of which 123 are reportedly cured.
What caused the panic?
The news of the death was first reported on social media through a Facebook post dating back to March. The video containing disturbing scenes with a huge crowd of people standing outside a building in Senegal was shared on Facebook.
A police car was also seen standing outside the building. The video which came with a French narration, saying: "There is a big scandal in Senegal. There is a guy who came into a house to get kids vaccinated for coronavirus. He vaccinated seven children who died on the spot."
However, the original version found by Les Observateurs France 24 contains the narration in Wolof, the common language spoken in Senegal. In the original narration, though COVID-19 vaccine was mentioned, the death of seven children was not found.
The original version says: "He's a guy who came to the neighborhood today with injections supposedly against the coronavirus. He entered the house of the Mbodji family. He said he is there to administer vaccines. The family members told him that this is not true. He fled to go to the neighborhood chief. He was finally neutralized right here with the neighborhood chief. We are currently there and the gendarmerie is there too. Everyone is there for that ."
African woman claims the deaths of children to be true
On April 6, a user named Aggie's Fam posted a 13-minute long video on YouTube confirming the news of seven children being dead in Senegal. Claiming the dead children were infants, the woman in the video said: "I really don't know what's wrong with our African leaders. Today, a nurse told my husband that seven infants have died in Senegal due to this coronavirus vaccine."
"I just don't get it, why you must collect this thing when you know that it's not being tested? You want to use your people as guinea pigs. Lab rats? Because of what? Do they give you money to kill? If you kill all your people in your land, who will remain for you govern? You will end up going to the ground like you end up falling like zero level. What is your problem? Oh my god, this is stupid," she said in her video.
The video, which was later removed by YouTube, however, found its way to other social media sites, especially Twitter where it was retweeted several times.
Senegal authorities deny any deaths due to COVID-19 vaccine
Denying the death of seven children due to coronavirus vaccine, a spokesperson for Senegal's health ministry told AFP that the claims being made in the video were fake. "There is no vaccine. We have medical experts at the Institut Pasteur (a medical research institute, editor's note) in Dakar working to create and certify a vaccine according to procedure. They will be completely transparent about their findings."
Speaking to France 24, Alassane Mbodji, the woman at whose house the drama unfolded, confirmed that the news of seven children being dead due to the COVID-19 vaccine was fake and her children were alive and healthy.
"About two weeks ago, a man came home around noon. He introduced himself as an agent of the Ministry of Health who came to raise awareness about the threat of coronavirus and the precautions to be taken to avoid it, such as regular hand washing," she told France 24.
"He had worn a t-shirt flanked by a logo from the Department of Health. But in the discussions, we quickly realized that he was not an agent of the Ministry of Health. He did not have a badge. He had cosmetic products for sale in his bag. Outside people are prohibited from entering homes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But this person pretended to be a public agent to be able to sell his articles. So we sent him back to the neighbourhood chief. And from there, the gendarmerie took him," France 24 quoted the woman.