FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show COVID-19 Vaccine Developer Ugur Sahin As A Child?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a picture of BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin as a child.

Verdict: False

The little boy in the picture has been misidentified. A spokesperson for BioNTech confirmed the photo does not show Sahin’s family.

Fact Check:

Sahin, an immunologist and cancer researcher, and his wife Dr. Özlem Türeci, co-founded BioNTech, a German company that recently announced that it has jointly developed with Pfizer a COVID-19 vaccine, according to The Guardian. He immigrated to Germany from Turkey with his parents as a young child, The Associated Press reported.

“Turkish immigrant family just arrived in Germany,” reads text above the image. “Ugur, the little lad in the yellow top, went on to develop the Pfizer vaccine that’s going to be rolled out in the UK this week.”

While the picture does appear to show a photo of a Turkish family that immigrated to Germany, it is not Sahin’s family. The pictured boy in the yellow shirt is not Sahin. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Kelly Loeffler’s House?)

A reverse image search reveals the picture was taken by German photographer Candida Höfer and was first published in 1979. It can be found in a collection of Höfer’s photographs, titled “Türken in Deutschland.” Neither the photo’s description nor the “Türken in Deutschland” collection identify the people pictured.

“This is not a picture of Prof. Sahin’s family,” said Julia Bloes, a spokesperson for BioNTech, in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Twitter account @DiasporaTürk, an account dedicated to profiling the experience of Turkish immigrants across Europe in the 20th century, tweeted about the picture in August claiming it was taken in the German city of Düsseldorf in the 70s. DiasporaTürk told the DCNF in a Twitter direct message that a member of the family in the picture had contacted them and told them that the boy in the picture is currently a “factory worker in his 50s,” not a scientist.

The account later addressed people misidentifying the boy in a Nov. 17 tweet.

“Today, in many places, it was shared that he was Prof.Dr. Uğur Şahin,” a translation of the tweet reads. “We shared the family’s story before. That boy grew up and became a lathe-leveling master. This doesn’t make it any less important than anyone else. Hoping that the memory of the family will be respected.”

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact [email protected].

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
Follow Brad on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected]