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No, WHO has not ‘terminated’ the pandemic agreement

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The claim: World Health Organization ‘abandoned’ pandemic treaty

An April 25 Facebook post (direct link, archive link) claims that an international effort to prepare for future pandemics has ended.

“BREAKING: WHO has abandoned its controversial ‘pandemic treaty’ following public discussions and backlash,” the message read, referring to the World Health Organization.

A similar post on X, formerly Twitter, was reposted more than 400 times.

More from the Fact-Check team: How we select and investigate claims | Email newsletter | Facebook page

Our rating: False

Efforts by World Health Organization members to agree on ways to prevent and respond to future pandemics are ongoing and could be completed by the end of May. A WHO spokesperson said the claim is incorrect.

The pandemic deal could be finalized by the end of May

In late 2021, WHO member states, including the US, agreed to develop a global agreement to prevent and respond to future pandemics. The WHO Intergovernmental Negotiating Body has met periodically to work out the details of the agreement.

There are no credible news reports of the WHO abandoning its efforts to broker such an agreement. The latest draft of the agreement was released on April 22 and is still available on the WHO website. It includes chapters on pandemic prevention, healthcare workforce, supply chains and communications.

“Claims that WHO has abandoned the pandemic accord are untrue and are unfortunately a clear case of misinformation,” Rayyan Sabet-Parry, a WHO spokesperson, told USA TODAY. “The fact is that this government-led process is underway this week, with all 194 WHO member states continuing negotiations on the proposed pandemic agreement.”

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The ninth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body – the “last negotiating session to agree on a new pandemic instrument” – resumed on April 29 and is expected to continue until May 10. The negotiations are a “crucial milestone” in the run-up to the 77th World Conference. Health meeting, starting on May 27, during which WHO member states will consider adopting the agreement, a press release said.

This does not mean that the agreement will be approved by the WHO member states. Politico reported that the treaty “may never happen.” The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, says the current version of the treaty “contains many provisions detrimental to U.S. national interests” and is encouraging Congress to reject it.

USA TODAY has previously debunked false claims about the WHO’s pandemic agreement, including that it would give WHO control over U.S. pandemic policy and allow WHO to “forcibly vaccinate the population” and control government resources.

USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the post for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Reuters also debunked the claim.

Our fact-checking resources:

  • Rayyan Sabet-Parry, May 6, email exchange with USA TODAY
  • WHO, December 1, 2021, World Health Assembly agrees to launch a process to develop a historic global agreement on the prevention, preparedness and response to pandemics
  • WHO, April 22, proposal for the WHO pandemic agreement
  • WHO, April 29, Ninth Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) for a WHO Instrument for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response – resumed
  • WHO, March 28, WHO member states agree to resume negotiations aimed at finalizing world’s first pandemic agreement
  • The Heritage Foundation, April 19: WHO pandemic treaty fails again
  • Politico, January 3, Why the world’s first pandemic treaty may never happen

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USA TODAY is a verified signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network, which requires a proven commitment to impartiality, fairness and transparency. Our fact-checking work is supported in part by a grant from Meta.