A medical staff member administers a dose of the Sinovac Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at a university in Qingdao in China's eastern Shandong province on on March 30, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP)

Video of crowds rushing for vaccine shows wrong Chinese city

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

A video of crowds packed along a street has been viewed tens of thousands of times in Twitter posts claiming it shows people rushing to receive Covid-19 jabs in the southern Chinese city of Yulin. The video has been shared in a misleading context: it was actually filmed in China’s Chengdu city.

The video was published here on Twitter on May 27, 2021.

It has been viewed more than 120,000 times.

The footage shows hundreds of people huddled together, with people's hands on their neighbour's shoulder, as they shuffle down the street.

Screenshot taken on June 6, 2021, of the misleading Twitter post

The post’s simplified Chinese-language caption reads: “After Guangzhou, people in Guangxi’s Yulin also rushed for vaccination because one case was found in Nanning. Look at this scene, you may be infected without receiving a vaccine!”

The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou saw an uptick in Covid-19 cases in May 2021, AFP reported here.

Yulin and Nanning are cities in southern China’s autonomous Guangxi region.

A new imported Covid-19 case was reported in Nanning on May 25, 2021, local police said.

The video, however, has been shared in a misleading context.

A forensic analysis of the video found several street signs in simplified Chinese language.

Keyword searches for the signs subsequently found the same street on Baidu Maps here.

The street is situated in Chengdu in China's southwestern Sichuan province.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading posts (L) and the street view on Baidu Maps (R):

Screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading posts (L) and the street view on Baidu Maps (R)

A further keyword search on Weibo found the same video shared by Chengdu’s local state-owned newspaper West China Metropolis Daily here on Weibo on May 28, 2021.

Screenshot taken on June 4, 2021, of the Weibo video by West China Metropolitan Daily

The Weibo post’s caption states that the video shows a crowd queuing for Covid-19 vaccines.

“May 27, Chengdu, Sichuan. People crowded together for vaccination in [Chengdu's] Xindu district, and many citizens were pushed forward by the flow of people,” it reads.

“According to witnesses, some residents heard that the Covid-19 vaccine would be no longer free after June 10, leading to chaos at the scene. Fortunately, police managed to maintain the order, and no accident occurred.”

Local authorities in Xindu district, subsequently said rumours that people would have to pay for Covid-19 vaccines were false, the Weibo post added.

The government response to the incident was published here on Weibo on May 28, 2021.

“Covid-19 vaccination is free for all! Charging on vaccination is absolutely a rumour!”

The incident was also reported by Chinese state media site Rednet News here.

COVID-19