The Chinese donation consisted of general medical supplies to help fight COVID-19

Copyright AFP 2017-2020. All rights reserved.

A post shared on Facebook and WhatsApp claims that China has sent COVID-19 vaccines to Burundi. The claim is false; China did donate medical supplies to the eastern African nation, but not vaccines, which do not exist yet for the disease.

The Facebook post from April 11, 2020 has been shared dozens of  times and features images of officials in front of a hospital receiving boxes of supplies, claimed to be COVID-19 vaccines from China.

“CHINESE VACCINATION TO TEST COVID_19 HAS ARRIVED IN AFRICA STARTED IN BURUNDI UGANDANS GET READY IT'S A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH WHY NOT IN THEIR CONTINENT AMERICA OR EUROPE?” the caption reads. 

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post, taken on April 17, 2020

The same claim has also been shared on WhatsApp alongside a voice clip in Luganda, a language widely spoken in Uganda. It warns Ugandans that a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine designed to kill Africans has arrived in Burundi and will soon be used on them.

Screenshot of the misleading WhatsApp message, taken on April 17, 2020

A reverse image search shows that the photos first appeared here on the official Twitter account of the Chinese embassy in Burundi.

The French caption translates as: “On April 3, Li Changlin, Ambassador of the PR of China and Dr Thaddee Ndikumana, the Minister of Public Health in Burundi, participated in the Ceremony of Delivery of Medical Materials offered by the Chinese Government at Prince Regent Charles Hospital .”

The images were again tweeted on the same day by Burundi health officials. This time the caption in French, translated, read: “Thanks to the People's Republic of China for providing equipment and materials to support the country's fight against COVIDー19”

Neither tweet mentions a supply of vaccines, which, in any case, do not exist yet for COVID-19, as this AFP Fact Check debunk explains here.

According to YouTube news channel Mashariki TV, the Chinese donation to Prince Regent Charles Hospital in Burundi was worth $400,000 and included equipment and supplies to assist in the fight against COVID-19.

Burundi has recorded six cases of COVID-19 as of April 21, according to an AFP tally.

Adeng Mayik
CORONAVIRUS