Social media commentary captured in a news publication here claims that Ghana’s president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has committed Ghana to a vaccine pact to receive COVID-19 vaccines sponsored by billionaire Bill Gates for use by Ghanaians.
The publication, which features social media comments, also claims that President Akufo-Addo has committed Ghana to a mandatory vaccination programme.
Fact-checkGhana.com looked into these claims and found them to be completely false.
Explanation: There is yet to be a vaccine against COVID-19 in the world although the World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified a number of possible vaccines.
Ghana, like other countries of the world affected by COVID-19, is supporting various initiatives geared towards finding a safe and effective vaccine.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is a major funder of the WHO has been a victim of misinformation and conspiracy theories such as the foundation planning to use a future COVID-19 vaccine to implant microchips in billions of people and to depopulate Africa.
These conspiracies have, among other things, been fuelled by Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ push for a COVID-19 vaccine.
The claim that President Akufo-Addo has committed Ghana to a Bill Gates vaccine pact to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for compulsory vaccination of citizens is based on a tweet by the president, via his twitter handle, @NAkufoAddo on May 15, 2020.
“Together with other global leaders, I signed the @UNAIDS Public Letter on a People’s Vaccine for # COVID19. It is important that all people everywhere must have access to the vaccine when one becomes available. It must be the #PeoplesVaccine,” the tweet read.
To verify the claim, we visited the UNAIDS official website to get details about the said letter [described as a pact by the claimants] and find out if it was in any way connected to Bill Gates and was associated with a compulsory vaccination programme.
A blog post on the UNAIDS website indicated that the people’s vaccine against COVID-19 is only an open letter signed by over 140 world leaders including current and former president and experts.
The pact demands all governments of the world to ensure that whenever any effective vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 is developed, it should be patent-free, mass-produced, distributed fairly and made available to all people, in all countries, free of charge.
The Executive Director for UNAIDS, Winnie Byanyima, explained in a video that “epidemics affect everyone but they do not affect everyone equally.
“To fight COVID we have to fight inequality because pandemics feed on and widen inequalities…Together, we want all leaders to guarantee that when a safe and effective vaccine is developed, it is produced rapidly at scale and made available for all people in all countries free of charge.
“The same applies to all treatments, tests and other technologies. No one should be sent to the back of the COVID queue because of the colour of their skin or the money in their pockets.”
She further justified the calls for a people’s vaccine, citing the instance of African countries unable to buy COVID-19 test kits and Personal Protective Equipment from the open markets because rich countries buy them in huge quantities and stocking up for themselves.
There are currently over 100 candidate vaccines under various stages of development. According to the WHO, 10 are currently in clinical evaluation stage while 115 are in the pre-clinical evaluation stage.
Bill Gates in an April 2, 2020 interview on Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would later fund factories of seven COVID-19 vaccine candidates however, the People’s Vaccine letter does not make specific reference to any vaccine and therefore it cannot be said that Ghana has signed up for a Bill Gates COVID-19 vaccine.
Again, to the extent that the People’s Vaccine letter does not put citizens of any of the countries whose presidents have signed, like Ghana, under any agreement to be mandatorily quarantined, the claim suggesting so is false.
There is currently no law in Ghana that permits compulsory vaccination of citizens against COVID-19.