Fact Check: Were 496,000 Children In India Paralyzed Between 2000


    Bill and Melinda Gates have been targeted by anti-vaxxers for long time for his work on vaccination. Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has donated funds to GAVI foundation, an organisation in forefront of making vaccination available to countries who can’t afford it for its population.

    In light of this, posts were shared on social media platforms with the claim that their foundation had tested a polio vaccine in India that left at least 490,000 children paralyzed.

    “Bill Gates foundation tested a polio vax in India between 2000 & 2017 and paralysed 496,000 children,” reads one such post dated April 13, 2020.

    The post was shared over 17,000 times.

    Similar posts which claimed that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was asked to leave India also circulated in April and May on Facebook here, here and here.


    Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had tested polio vaccine in India between 2000 & 2017 and had paralysed 496,000 children.

    Fact Check:

    The claim is misleading.

    According to a report by PolitiFact, the claim can be traced back to an Instagram post by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of former US president John F. Kennedy and a leader of the World Mercury Project on April 7. World Mercury Project, a group headed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and a California-based organization has been vocal against vaccines. Further, they are one of the biggest sources of anti-vaccine advertisements on Facebook.

    “Indian doctors blame the Gates campaign for a devastating vaccine-strain polio epidemic that paralyzed 496,000 children between 2000 and 2017,” Kennedy wrote.

    View this post on Instagram

    LINK IN BIO. Vaccines, for Bill Gates, are a strategic philanthropy that feed his many vaccine-related businesses (including Microsoft’s ambition to control a global vac ID enterprise) and give him dictatorial control over global health policy—the spear tip of corporate neo-imperialism. Gates’ obsession with vaccines seems fueled by a messianic conviction that he is ordained to save the world with technology and a god-like willingness to experiment with the lives of lesser humans. Promising to eradicate Polio with $1.2 billion, Gates took control of India ‘s National Advisory Board (NAB) and mandated 50 polio vaccines (up from 5) to every child before age 5. Indian doctors blame the Gates campaign for a devastating vaccine-strain polio epidemic that paralyzed 496,000 children between 2000 and 2017. In 2017, the Indian Government dialed back Gates’ vaccine regimen and evicted Gates and his cronies from the NAB. Polio paralysis rates dropped precipitously. In 2017, the World Health Organization reluctantly admitted that the global polio explosion is predominantly vaccine strain, meaning it is coming from Gates’ Vaccine Program. The most frightening epidemics in Congo, the Philippines, and Afghanistan are all linked to Gates’ vaccines. By 2018, ¾ of global polio cases were from Gates’ vaccines. In 2014, the Gates Foundation funded tests of experimental HPV vaccines, developed by GSK and Merck, on 23,000 young girls in remote Indian provinces. Approximately 1,200 suffered severe side effects, including autoimmune and fertility disorders. Seven died. Indian government investigations charged that Gates funded researchers committed pervasive ethical violations: pressuring vulnerable village girls into the trial, bullying parents, forging consent forms, and refusing medical care to the injured girls. The case is now in the country’s Supreme Court. In 2010, the Gates Foundation funded a trial of a GSK’s experimental malaria vaccine, killing 151 African infants and causing serious adverse effects including paralysis, seizure, and febrile convulsions to 1,048 of the 5,049 children. …Continued on slides 2 + 3.

    A post shared by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (@robertfkennedyjr) on Apr 7, 2020 at 7:19pm PDT

    In an email correspondence with Politifact, the Gates Foundation has debunked the claims.

    According to a report by WHO, India was officially declared polio-free in 2014. Further, no evidence could be found which proved that almost half a million Indian children were given polio or suffered from paralysis due to vaccine-derived polioviruses.

    “Over the past 10 years, more than 10 billion doses of Oral poliovirus vaccines (OPV) have been administered to over 2.5 billion children worldwide, preventing more than 10 million polio cases during that period,” reads another report by WHO.

    However, the World Health Organization does mention that it is possible to contract polio from vaccines but it is extremely rare.

    According to the agency 1 in 2.7 million oral doses results in vaccine-associated paralytic polio.

    Although there have been reports of contaminated vaccine even after the eradication of polio in India. The data from the WHO show that there were 17 cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus cases recorded in India between 2000 and 2017.

    The data shows that cases were recorded in India only in 2009 and 2010, as seen in the screenshots below, in which cVDPV (circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus).

    Therefore it can be ascertained that the claims made in the viral posts are false.