How Chris Oyakhilome spreads malaria vaccine conspiracy theories – Report


A prominent Nigerian clergy, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, has been accused of spreading false information against malaria vaccines.

According to the report published on Thursday, April 18, 2024, the BBC analysed how Mr Oyakhilome misquoted a clip from a TED talk Bill Gates gave in 2010 during one of his sermons in August 2023, among his other anti-vaccination claims.

READ: FACT CHECK: Does 5G pose a health risk to the human body?

The pastor claimed Gates was among “those who have an agenda for depopulation of the world”.

While giving a talk on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, Gates said: “First, we’ve got population. The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15%.”

Bill Gates’ assertion was said to have been misunderstood by Pastor Oyakhilome and this made him mislead his large followers.

Gates did not advocate for the world’s depopulation, according to the BBC.

Gates has clarified in the past that he saw population growth and health improvement as complementary: “When health improves, families choose to have less kids.”

Oyakhilome also claimed that the World Mosquito Programme facility in Colombia belonged to the Gates Foundation, accusing it of producing genetically modified mosquitoes as a strategy for depopulation.

The mosquito factory, which was designed to diminish mosquitoes’ ability to transmit viruses, is part of a non-profit network of firms owned by Monash University in Australia, and it has stated that its process does not use genetically modified organisms.

Oyakhilome is no stranger to anti-vaccination misinformation. He has recently targeted the HPV vaccine, which is designed to prevent women from cervical cancer.

“They have something else up their sleeve. It’s not about cancer,” he said during a service aired on September 2, 2023.

Nigeria launched a widespread immunisation campaign for girls in October 2023 in an effort to dramatically lower cervical cancer rates. Every year, about 8,000 Nigerian women die as a result of this disease.

In 2021, a major study financed by Cancer Research UK discovered that the HPV vaccine reduced cervical cancer cases by over 90 percent. Oyakhilome has already made numerous erroneous assertions regarding anti-tetanus shots, polio vaccines, and other paediatric immunisations.

The report said the pastor also falsely stated that the messenger RNA vaccine alters the DNA.

READ ALSO: How the religious toga of misinformation fuelled COVID-19 pandemic

However, immunization does not affect people’s DNA. It takes a portion of a virus’s genetic material, or messenger RNA, to train the immune system to detect it and manufacture antibodies, the BBC report stated.

During the COVID pandemic, British media regulator, Ofcom, fined Pastor Oyakhilome’s congregation £125,000 ($155,000).

It said his network Loveworld, broadcast in the UK, showed “misleading and potentially harmful statements about the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines”.

It will be recalled that in 2020, The FactCheckHub analysed how the pastor falsely claimed that the 5G technology was dangerous to human cells. Also, a former lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye, echoed the same sentiment in a video he shared on his X (formerly Twitter) handle then.

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Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.


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