Fact CheckHealth

False: The little boy in yellow is NOT the Covid-19 vaccine inventor.

Claim: The little boy in yellow is the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine inventor.

False. The picture as a whole is not the family picture of the Covid-19 vaccine inventor and neither is the little boy in yellow with no shoes Ugur Sahin

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A Turkish-German husband-and-wife team of researchers, Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci have taken over many news headlines as pacesetters in the race to invent coronavirus vaccines. 

Dr. Sahin is the Chief Executive Officer of BioNTech, a German biotech company, which along with its Pfizer partner from the United States, developed the coronavirus vaccine.

An image, making the rounds on WhatsApp and other social media platforms as seen below claims that the image, a man, woman and four children, is the family portrait of Dr. Ugur Sahin. The text specifically states that the little boy in yellow and wearing no shoes is Dr. Sahin.

Image source: WhatsApp 


Although the picture does have Turkish roots, it is not the family of Ugur Sahin as the text suggests. 

The viral image first circulated in 2020 and was debunked by a Turkish International Fact-checking Network (IFCN) signatory fact-checking organisation, Teyin and later in December 2020 by other platforms like Indiatoday.in

The photo can be found on ArtReview from their March 2017 issue of ArtReview where it is stated that the photo was taken by German photographer Candida Höfer. This is also the case in Artjournal and harvardartmuseums.orgs, exhibition which also links the photo to Höfer.

According to a Newyork times report, Ugar Sahin is from İskenderun in Turkey. The photo in question, however, is said to be that of a family that immigrated from Aksaray to Düsseldorf, Germany.

According to DiasporaTürk  on Twitter which is an online community dedicated to collecting and documenting stories relating to Turkish immigrants in Europe, the photo in question is not Sahin’s family picture. According to them, the grandchild of the family in the photo reached out to them and shared stories on how their family migrated to Germany and how the boy in yellow grew to be a lathe-leveling master.

Image source: DiasporaTurk, Twitter


The picture is not that of Dr. Sahin’s family as suggested.

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