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Ethiopia’s Higher-ranking Official’s Misleading Claims on Corona Vaccines

By MFC Staff

On July 21, Ethiopia’s high-ranking official, Taye Dendea Aredo, took to social media to publicly question if the vaccine could be a US intelligence agency’s plot to intensify Corona in Ethiopia and encouraged citizens not to take the vaccine.

As of the time of writing this article, Taye has 474,757 followers on Facebook and his post has 10,000 likes and has been shared by 1,300 people.

After discussing the ongoing political friction between the US government and his administration, Taye, an executive committee member of the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) and spokesperson of the party’s Oromia branch, posed a question at the end of his post asking,  “[how] do we know that the vaccine itself is not a CIA plot to spread-out Corona in Ethiopia?”

Who produces the vaccines and is their objective to ‘spread-out’ Corona?

The vaccines are produced by various drugmakers, and biotech companies located around the world. These vaccines are BioNTech, Pfizer, Moderna, Sputnik V, Novavax, Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, CanSino, Sinovac, and CureVac. The vaccines have 95.0, 94.1, 91.6, 90.4, 78.1, 76.0, 66.9,65.3 and 50.4 estimated efficacy, respectively.

Gosaye Fida, public health specialist currently working on securing the health protection and response against COVID-19 in the UK, told MFC that, “vaccines are not produced in just willy-nilly” rather, they are produced after ‘legitimately’ receiving a license from the World Health Organization. According to the specialist, the license will be offered after following a scientific rigor, including the quality of data presented and the expected clinical response.

Data from Pfizer shows that the vaccines are meant to prevent COVID-19 in individuals aged 12       and above. Thus, there is not yet proof that the vaccines’ aim is to intensify the virus.

“We have got the virus epidemic on one hand and epidemic of misinformation on the other hand,” says Gosaye. The ones most affected by both these      epidemics, according to Gosaye, “are people who are most vulnerable and less skilled to understand the complexity of what they are dealing with.”

“So, what Taye Dendea put on his Facebook is not any different to the kind of stories goes on the Facebook from all corners of the world,” he added.

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Is it better not to take the vaccine for any reason?

Taye concluded the post by asserting, “I believe from the perspective of moral and health, it is better for us not to get vaccinated! It is better to die freely!”

Claims such as these go against what the World Health Organization (WHO) has been advising states and citizens since the vaccines first became available. “Take whatever vaccine is made available to you first, even if you have already had COVID-19,” stated WHO in its July 14 COVID-19 Vaccines Advice. “It is important to be vaccinated as soon as possible once it’s your turn and not wait.

Gosaye sees Tay’s statement as misinformation and as one that carries ‘criminal intent.      “For him, to come out in public and say don’t take the vaccine on the ground that he suspects this vaccine is produced with some malicious intent from CIA is absolutely a misinformation, and criminal intent,” says the specialist. “It is my right as human being to get protected a full privilege of life. So, to deny me otherwise is a human right crime. It is a crime against humanity,” he added.

In Ethiopia, it’s been reported that over 2.2 million people have been vaccinated      according to the Ministry of Health’s July 27 Twitter data. The data stated that out of the total 278, 717 COVID-19 cases, so far 4,371 people have lost their life.

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