A health worker prepares a dose of the Covaxin vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus at a vaccination centre in New Delhi on September 29, 2021. ( AFP / Sajjad HUSSAIN)

Pre-pandemic video of Indian baby with deformed limbs does not relate to vaccines

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A video has circulated in Korean-language social media posts that claim it shows a baby born with defects caused by a Covid-19 vaccine. The claim is false: the video shows a baby born in India more than one year before the country started vaccinating its population against Covid-19. Global health experts have recommended pregnant women should get vaccinated for Covid-19, saying the benefits outweigh any potential risks.

The video was shared here on the South Korean online platform Naver Blog on October 10, 2021.

It shows a crying baby with multiple limbs.

"Covid-19 vaccines cause birth defects!" reads the Korean-language caption alongside the video.

Screenshot of the misleading Naver Blog post, taken on October 13, 2021.

An identical video was also shared alongside a similar claim on Naver Blog, and on Facebook here and here.

The claim is false: the video was filmed before the pandemic.

Old video

A reverse image search of the video's keyframes on Google found they correspond to photos published in this report by British tabloid The Daily Mirror on September 21, 2019.

The report is titled: "Baby born with 4 legs and 3 hands after two triplets become conjoined in womb".

It reads in part: "Mum Raju, 24, gave birth in a government-run hospital in Tonk in Rajasthan, India, late on Friday night.

"Dr Rohitesh Meena, the surgeon who delivered the babies, said: 'Raju gave birth naturally to the twins at around 2.46 am.'"

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video's keyframes (L) and photos published by The Daily Mirror (R):

Dr Rohitesh Meena told AFP the video was shared online in a false context in 2021.

"This [case] was in 2019, way before Covid and I had helped a woman deliver the babies, where one of them was born with multiple limbs so we referred the baby to an advanced hospital in the capital city of Jaipur," Meena told AFP.

India began its Covid-19 vaccination program on January 16, 2021, according to this report published by The Lancet medical journal.

News websites Caters Clips and the Hindi-language Patrika also reported about the birth in September 2019.

Vaccination advice

Global health experts have recommended that pregnant women should get vaccinated for Covid-19.

In guidelines released on October 7, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated: "Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy".

The UK's National Health Service (NHS) and the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency have also said women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can be vaccinated against Covid-19.

AFP has previously debunked claims linking Covid-19 vaccines with adverse pregnancy outcomes here and here.