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Children in video died in stampede, not after receiving COVID-19 vaccine

October 29, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows 13 children lying on the floor dead after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at a school in South Africa.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video, taken in 2020, shows children who died in a stampede at school in Kenya. The Department of Health in South Africa confirmed to the AP that the claim being shared was false.

THE FACTS: The graphic video, which shows a row of children on stretchers with the sounds of wailing in the background, is accompanied by comments that falsely state the children died from the COVID-19 vaccine.

It circulated widely across social media and on Telegram with claims the media was not covering the deaths and that tech companies were blocking the video. The Department of Health of South Africa confirmed to the AP that they had not had any reports of deaths of children due to the vaccine.

In fact, this is just misinformation designed to mislead our people, parents and guardians in particular,” Foster Mohale, a health department spokesperson, said in an email.

South Africa is not vaccinating children in schools. Those 12 and above can choose to go to vaccination centers to get shot, but it is completely voluntary.

The video, along with others showing the children laid out on the floor in their school uniforms following the stampede, is still accessible on Facebook and Twitter.

The Associated Press reported on the stampede, which took place at Kakamega Primary School in Kenya in February 2020. It occurred after students trampled over each other as they were released for the school day. Fourteen children died in the stampede and 39 others were injured. The AP reported that grief-stricken parents wailed and collapsed at the three hospitals where the bodies of the dead were taken. The cause of the stampede was unclear at the time.

The video has been misrepresented before. It circulated in June with the false claim that it showed children who had died after being poisoned at a birthday party at school.

The recent false claims about the video began circulating this week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration backed a low dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children in the U.S. The panel voted that the vaccine’s benefits in preventing COVID-19 outweighed any potential risks.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.