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COVID-19 vaccines false context

Old video used to push false claim that BioNTech CEO ‘refuses’ to take the vaccine

Old video footage of an interview with Ugur Sahin, the CEO of BioNTech, from December 2020 is circulating online as “evidence” that he refuses to take the vaccine his company helped develop. But that’s not true. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A tweet containing a video of BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin being interviewed. The text of the tweet reads, “Dr Ugur Sahin CEO of BioNTech and inventor of the BIO N TECH Pfizer jab refuses to take the jab for safety reasons. WAKE UP!” The News Literacy Project has added a label that says “FALSE.”
Ugur Sahin, the CEO of BioNTech — the biotechnology company that collaborated with Pfizer to develop its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine — did not refuse to take the vaccine.
The video in this tweet is from an interview with the German news outlet Deutsche Welle in December 2020.
Sahin said in that interview that he had not yet taken the vaccine because he was not yet eligible at that time.
Sahin told The Times of London in a September 2021 interview that he and his wife were both vaccinated in January 2021.

NewsLit takeaway

Simple tricks of context and other kinds of easy manipulations — sometimes called “cheap fakes” — are extremely common and are often just as effective as more sophisticated misinformation tactics. This post also contains several traits of a conspiracy theory. The premise itself (that Sahin “refuses” to take the vaccine) is conspiratorial in nature, and the phrase “WAKE UP!” is commonly used by conspiracy theorists. The video has also been manipulated to emphasize a moment in the interview in which a reporter misspoke, saying that Sahin and his wife “played such a central role in the development of the virus” when he clearly meant to say “the development of the vaccine.”

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