On May 19, 2020, a Facebook user posted that Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan was a member of the Gavi Alliance Council.
“The founder and sponsor of the Gavi Alliance is the Bill and Millinda Gates Foundation. We learn about this directly from the official website of the organization. According to the official website of Gavi, the main goal of the organization is to protect people’s health by increasing access to immunization in poor countries. We will not allow them to vaccinate us and our children,”- reads the post.
The posts published by the mentioned page and others has been shared by many users, as well as republished on Armday.am website. The Fact Investigation Platform decided to study the authenticity of the information contained in the posts that caused a stir on social media.
What alliance are we talking about?
Gavi was founded in 2000. According to the official website, the organization is now vaccinating about half of the world’s children. To date, more than 760 million children from poor and underdeveloped countries have been vaccinated against epidemics and other diseases. One of the goals of the organization is to make expensive and inaccessible vaccines available to poor countries and to exclude commercial risks from producers. Thus, 11 vaccines approved and recommended by the World Health Organization with the support of Gavi are several times more affordable in poor countries than in developed countries.
Vaccines recommended by the WHO help protect children from a number of diseases. And these vaccines have been approved by the health authorities of a number of countries. Armenia is no exception. These are well-known vaccines against tuberculosis, hepatitis, diphtheria and other diseases. In other words, Gavi does not carry out a “new” vaccination, but only makes the existing and accepted vaccines more accessible, which we have all been vaccinated against in the past. The founder of the alliance is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Fact Investigation Platform has referred to the disinformation about the activities of the Gates and its foundation previously.
Gavi and the Coronavirus
According to the official website of the alliance, in the conditions of the coronavirus outbreak, the organization has undertaken to continue the work of increasing the immunization of children in African countries. In addition, the organization regularly provides information on the spread of the virus and informs about various announcements about the discovery of the vaccine.
The connection of Armenia and Arsen Torosyan with Gavi
As we have mentioned, the Gavi Alliance supports poor countries in obtaining vaccines. Any country where per capita income is less than the standard set by the organization can apply for assistance. Armenia has received support from this organization since 2000. The last grant program ended in 2018, and starting from 2019 Armenia has been acquiring vaccines at its own expense. The reason is the changes in the economic life of the country.
Moreover, according to the RA Ministry of Health, so far Armenia has not received direct financial support from Gavi, instead “it was mainly provided to international partner organizations for the implementation of necessary measures in the Republic of Armenia.”
As for Arsen Torosyan, the latter was elected a member of Gavi’s governing council in June 2019, when Armenia was already off the list of beneficiary countries. In other words, the fact that Torosyan is a member of Gavi’s governing board does not mean that Armenia receives financial support from Gavi for vaccinations.
Thus, we can state that Gavi has been in Armenia since 2000, moreover, until 2019, Armenia was a beneficiary of grant programs, and since 2019, due to the improvement of the economic situation of the country, Armenia has been “left out” of that list.
Whereas the conspiracy theories connected with Gavi and Arsen Torosyan spreading on social networks, are nothing, but a way to spread panic among the public.