Did President-elect Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam announce an urgent plan to vaccinate 60% of every country’s population in the world by 2024?

We came across a post on X by a user called Aussie17, containing a picture of Singapore’s former Senior Minister and current President-elect Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, with the claim that an unelected World Economic Forum (WEF) official has announced an urgent plan to vaccinate 60% of every country’s population worldwide by 2024.

The post is accompanied by an article also by Aussie17, an anti-vaxxer who publishes articles centered around anti-vax sentiments. The article alleges that Mr. Tharman, as a recently retired Singapore Minister and an unelected official of WEF, is “advocating for immediate action to prioritize the implementation of WHO, IMF, and their multinational partners’ efforts to vaccinate a minimum of 60% of every country’s population within the next year”.


What was Mr. Tharman’s message?

While Aussie17’s article dated 25 August 2023 claims that Mr. Tharman advocating for the vaccination of 60% of every country’s population by 2024 is breaking news, the quote relied on by the article was actually from 2 yearsago.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Geneva on 25 August 2021, with the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Mr. Tharman stated that “[t]he first and most urgent priority is to implement the action plan set out by the WHO, IMF [International Monetary Fund] and their multilateral partners to vaccinate at least 60 per cent of every country’s population over the next year”.

Mr. Tharman was part of a panel that discussed, among others, learning from the COVID-19 pandemic and developing better funding solutions in order to better prepare and respond to any future pandemics.

The press conference was held during a period when COVID-19 was still rampant across the world. It was in this context that Mr. Tharman emphasised the importance of vaccinating the world’s population against COVID-19 and aiming for the majority of the population to be vaccinated by 2022.

Although the article insinuates that vaccinating 60% of every country in the world against COVID-19 by 2024 is alarming, in reality, about 70.5% of the world’s population has already received at least one dose of the vaccine. A large number of countries worldwide also have more than 60% of their population fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


WEF’s role in worldwide vaccination strategies

The article by Aussie17 also alleges that Mr. Tharman, as an unelected member of WEF’s Board of Trustees and a retired politician, is part of the WEF members who assert their authority in determining vaccination strategies worldwide.

However, at the time of the press conference (i.e. 25 August 2021), Mr. Tharman was a member of the Board of Trustees of the WEF and still a Senior Minister of Singapore. He informed the Prime Minister of Singapore on 8 June 2023 of his intention to resign from the People’s Action Party and retire from politics, in order to contest the Presidential Elections. His last day in office was 7 July 2023.

In addition, the WEF does not appear to hold elections but rather invites members to join its organisation. As the WEF is a non-governmental organisation, it also cannot force governments to implement any policies.

Moreover, Mr. Tharman stated that the vaccination strategy was a plan set out by the WHO, IMF, and their partners. The WEF does not seem to be involved in the plan.

Therefore the assertions that Mr. Tharman is an unelected member of the WEF and a retired politician seem to be mere red herrings as the WEF or its members have no authority to enforce any worldwide vaccination strategy.

Hence, it is false that President-elect Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced an urgent plan to vaccinate 60% of every country’s population in the world by 2024.

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