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No, This Pic Does Not Show Pfizer COVID Vaccine Creator Ugur Sahin

The boy in the photo went on to become a lathe-leveling master, according to DiasporaTurk.

Updated
WebQoof
4 min read

(VIDEO EDITOR: ABHISHEK SHARMA)

An image of a Turkish immigrant family is being circulated on social media with a false claim that the “boy in the yellow t-shirt” in the photograph is Dr Ugur Sahin, the CEO of Germany-based company, BioNTech SE, who developed the COVID-19 vaccine along with Pfizer Inc.

The photograph was clicked by photographer Candida Hofer in 1979 as part of her series documenting Turk immigrants in Germany. A volunteer-community which works on immigration and immigrant experiences, DiasporaTurk had shared the image on their Twitter account in August and explained that the boy in the yellow t-shirt went on to become a ‘lathe-leveling master.’

The viral image.
The viral image.
(Source: DiasporaTurk/Twitter)
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CLAIM

The claim was first made by user Richard Senett, who shared the image with the caption, “This is an immigrant family, newly arrived in Germany. The boy in the yellow shirt will go on to invent the COVID vaccine,” garnering over 1,15,800 likes at the time of writing this article.

You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/OJtzo">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

The image was also shared by Andrei Cherny, the CEO of American financial services provider Aspirations, with the same claim. The tweet had over 34,200 likes at the time of writing this article.

You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/TaSmG">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

Users also shared the image with similar claims on Facebook.

You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/lR2ZG">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)
You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/Lvno2">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

WHAT WE FOUND OUT

A reverse image search led us to several websites which cover art, carrying this image.

In an article on Art Review, the image has been credited to photographer Candida Hofer, who clicked this picture as part of her series ‘Türken in Deutschland 1979 (Turks in Germany 1979)‘

The image can also be found on open access digital journal, ‘Art Journal,’ which explains that Hofer had begun capturing Turkish immigrants in Germany in 1972 and went on to exhibit the black-and-white prints and colour slide shows in galleries of her hometown, Cologne.

The image was left untitled and was taken in 1979.

No, This Pic Does Not Show Pfizer COVID Vaccine Creator Ugur Sahin
(Source: Art Journal/Screenshot)
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We also found the image on Harvard Art Museum’s website.

While the photographer does not reveal the identity of her subjects, DiasporaTurk, a volunteer community that captures experiences of Turk immigrants in Europe, had uploaded this picture on Twitter in August.

In a Twitter thread, the organisation writes that the grandson of the family had reached out to them to clarify that the “family is from Aksaray. The father came to Germany in 1965 as a worker... In 1975 he decided to bring his wife and four children to Düsseldorf.”

The youngest girl became a dentist, the eldest sister became a service worker, and the boy, who has been misidentified as Sahin, went on to become a lathe-leveling master, the tweet further states.

According to a New York Times article, Sahin is from Iskenderun in Turkey, not Aksaray. He and his family moved to Cologne, Germany when he was four years old, which would be around the year 1969, since he is 55 in 2020.

Evidently, a photograph of a Turkish immigrant boy has been shared with false claims that he is Dr Ugur Sahin.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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