FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show COVID-19 Vaccine Developer Ugur Sahin As A Child?
An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a picture of BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin as a child.
The little boy in the picture has been misidentified. A spokesperson for BioNTech confirmed the photo does not show Sahin’s family.
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.
Bugün birçok yerde fotoğraftaki erkek çocuğunun Prof.Dr. Uğur Şahin olduğuyla ilgili paylaşımlar yapıldı.
Ailenin hikayesini daha önce paylaşmıştık. O çocuk büyüdü ve torna-tesviye ustası oldu. Bu onu kimseden daha az önemli yapmıyor. Ailenin anısına saygı duyulması ümidiyle… https://t.co/o7cMqwq37Q pic.twitter.com/DB4phsLn36
— DiasporaTürk (@diaspora_turk) November 17, 2020
“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.”
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