A person drinking from a water bottle (file image)
There are no plans to put vaccines in water supply systems. Image by Paul Miller/AAP PHOTOS

Putting vaccines in water supply is a load of dribble

Nik Dirga September 6, 2023

The World Economic Forum has discussed adding vaccines to the water supply.


False. The words of a leading academic at a water management forum have been taken out of context.

A video shared on social media is being used to claim the World Economic Forum (WEF) plans to add COVID-19 vaccines to drinking water.

This is false. Anti-vaccination activists have taken a brief exchange out of context from a WEF discussion on global water issues to spread disinformation about vaccines.

An Instagram post (screenshot here) shares a clip of a speaker at a World Economic Forum event, with text stating “The WEF wants to vaccinate you through your water now”.

In the video clip, the speaker says: “Just based on what you’ve just said, that’s also, of course, true with COVID, right? We are all only as healthy as our neighbour is on our street, in our city, in our region, in our nation and globally. Did we solve that? Like, did we actually manage to vaccinate everyone in the world? No.”

The speaker continues discussing the idea of water supply as a “global commons, and what it means to work together,” asking, “can we actually deliver this time in ways we have failed miserably other times?”

The video is captioned with the words “They want to Jab our water now”.

The claim has appeared elsewhere on Facebook, example here, and on other social media platforms including X, formerly known as Twitter, here and here.

A screenshot of the Instagram post.
 The post is spreading anti-vaccination disinformation. 

The post is a classic case of taking a speaker’s words out of context to make a false claim.

The video is a clip from a WEF press conference in May 2022, launching a two-year initiative to “transform the Economics of Water” in order to improve water equity – aiming to ensure everyone has access to safe, clean, affordable drinking water. 

The speaker is Mariana Mazzucato, an economics professor at University College London and co-chair of the Global Commission on the Economics of Water

In the 31-minute video of the full press conference, the context of Prof Mazzucato’s words becomes clear, as she responds to comments about water equity made by commission co-chair Tharman Shanmugaratnam (video mark 15min 10sec).

Mr Shanmugaratnam was discussing safe, clean drinking water for all being a “global commons” requiring public and private interests to work together.

Prof Mazzucato merely references COVID-19 as a way of comparing another global health issue.

At no point does she say COVID-19 vaccines were or would be introduced into the water supply.

Prof Mazzucato noted not everyone in the world was vaccinated during the pandemic,  but that comment had nothing to do with the wild claims on social media distorting her statement.

Bottles of water (file image)
 Putting vaccines in water simply wouldn’t work anyway. 

Regardless, adding COVID-19 vaccines to the water supply doesn’t work to inoculate the population because the nanoparticles and mRNA quickly dissipate in water, as a New Zealand vaccinologist told AFP Fact Check while debunking a similar claim. 

The WEF is a Swiss-based non-profit foundation which “engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas”.

It is a frequent target of conspiracy theories.

AAP FactCheck has also debunked claims about the WEF’s alleged depopulation goals here and here, and rumours of it promoting experimental gene therapy.

The Verdict

The claim the World Economic Forum plans to add vaccines to drinking water is false.

Social media users are taking a video clip of a brief exchange from a press conference about managing global water issues out of context to promote anti-vaccination disinformation.

The full video shows what the discussion was about and the idea of adding vaccines to water was never mentioned.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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