FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show South African Children Killed By COVID-19 Vaccines?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows children in South Africa who died after receiving COVID-19 vaccines.


Verdict: False

The image actually shows the bodies of students who lost their lives in a February 2020 stampede at a Kenyan school.

Fact Check:

The South African Health Department stated on Oct. 19 that it would begin vaccinating 12 to 17-year olds in the country on Oct. 20 with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. An Oct. 27 Facebook post includes a screen grab of a tweet with a photo showing what appears to be about a dozen children lying on the floor. The tweet reads, “13 Kids Have Died From Covid-19 Vaccines In A School In South Africa And No News Media Coverage, Just Instagram Posts That Keep Getting Deleted By Big Tech.”

The children did not, however, pass away due to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Check Your Fact found photos published by Reuters seemingly showing the same children on Feb. 3, 2020, 10 months before the COVID-19 vaccines first became available in December. The photos show children who had been killed in a stampede at a Kenyan primary school, according to their captions.

“Unidentified bodies of children killed in a stampede at the Kakamega primary school, are seen at the Kakemega (sic) teaching and referral hospital mortuary,” one of the photos’ captions reads.(RELATED: Viral Image Claims This Parasite Is In COVID-19 Vaccines)

At least 14 students died, and 39 others were wounded in a Feb. 3, 2020 stampede at Kakamega primary school in Kenya, Al Jazeera reported. Police investigating the stampede later found it was accidental and not the result of criminal action, according to Nairobi-based outlet The Standard.

The image shared in the screen grab of the tweet appears to be part of a video clip shared in a March 2020 tweet which incorrectly claimed that the children were killed by poisoned food. France 24 corrected that false rumor, and AFP debunked a different incorrect claim that the children died in a gas attack in Zambia. Both outlets found that the Facebook page Gusii Minto.Com had posted the footage in February 2020, associating it with the Kakamega incident. The Facebook page no longer exists.

More than 15.4 million people in South Africa and over 3.7 million in Kenya had received at least one vaccine dose as of press time, based on their governments’ data.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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