COVID-19 Fact Checks

MISSING CONTEXT: Duterte says COVID-19 booster shots not needed

Rappler.com
MISSING CONTEXT: Duterte says COVID-19 booster shots not needed
The video where President Rodrigo Duterte made the statement was aired in September 2021, when booster shots were not yet authorized in the Philippines
At a glance
  • Claim: A video circulating on social media shows President Rodrigo Duterte saying that COVID-19 booster shots are not needed and that two vaccine doses are enough.
  • Rating: MISSING CONTEXT
  • The facts: The clip came from Duterte’s Talk to the People that aired on September 30, 2021, when booster shots were not yet authorized in the Philippines. Duterte has since encouraged the public to get vaccinated with booster shots after it was approved by health authorities in December 2021. Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles also said that the circulating clip “should be viewed in the proper context.”
  • Why we fact-checked this: Claim Check, Facebook’s monitoring tool, flagged posts containing this claim. The video is being spread by accounts that are anti-vaccination.
Complete details

A video circulating on social media shows President Rodrigo Duterte saying that COVID-19 booster shots are not needed and that two vaccine doses are enough.

At least four videos sharing this clip were flagged by Claim Check, Facebook’s monitoring tool, for containing potentially misleading information. These videos were shared in January 2022. It is being spread by accounts that are anti-vaccination.

This is missing context.

The clip came from Duterte’s Talk to the People aired on September 30, 2021, when booster shots were not yet approved in the Philippines. Duterte has since encouraged the public to get vaccinated with booster shots after the Department of Health authorized the use of COVID-19 booster shots on December 2, 2021.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles also said in a statement on Monday, January 24, that the circulating clip “should be viewed in the proper context.”

“At that point, 21 million of our countrymen were fully vaccinated, and our priority was to increase this number, which is why the provision of booster shots had yet to be approved,” Nograles said.

In his September 30 speech, Duterte said in a mix of English and Filipino: “When you do that (get vaccinated) in multiple…you deprive your countrymen, the others who are not yet [vaccinated].”

Nograles also said that the situation today is different because booster shots have already been approved and proven to give additional defense from COVID-19 after the protection from initial doses starts to wane.

The Cabinet Secretary added that Duterte encouraged the public to get booster shots in his Talk to the People on December 21.

However, Duterte’s statement in the September 2021 briefing saying that the dead virus from the vaccines could be “resurrected” is outright false.

The World Health Organization says the viruses in inactivated vaccines – or those that use dead viruses – are killed using chemicals, heat, or radiation. The University of Oxford’s Vaccine Knowledge Project says that since these viruses are already dead, they cannot cause the diseases against which they protect.

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