The World Economic Forum was hiring unvaccinated pilots to fly the rich and powerful to the annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2023.
Both COVID-19 vaccines and the World Economic Forum (WEF) are lightning rods for conspiracy theorists. In recent years, the WEF, an annual gathering of wealthy and powerful business and political leaders, has regularly become a central player in conspiracies about a global elite secretly restructuring society in their favor.
These so-called “great reset” conspiracies often include claims about the COVID-19 pandemic as a tool for the elite to exert control. In this context, claims about the vaccination status of the pilots transporting WEF participants went viral in the days leading up to the official opening of the WEF on January 16, 2023.
Serving the belief that these “elites” know more about the alleged dangers and ills of the COVID-19 vaccination, various anti-vaccine groups began pushing claims that wealthy WEF participants required or had requested unvaccinated pilots for your safety. The supposed reason? An unsubstantiated claim that vaccinated pilots are at higher risk of heart complications compared to unvaccinated and are therefore at risk of “sudden death” mid-flight.
The unsubstantiated claim that vaccinated airline pilots are at increased risk of dying is a central claim encouraging a group of commercial pilots called the “US Freedom Flyers.” Snopes investigated similar claims in July and October 2021 and found them unsubstantiated. The claim that wealthy elites were requesting unvaccinated pilots for Davos, in this case, stemmed from an interview with Alan Dana, a former commercial pilot, shared on Infowars:
In that interview, Dana repeated secondhand information purportedly from USA Freedom Flyers founder Josh Loder:
Former Jetstar pilot Alan Dana has claimed that the rich are looking for unvaccinated pilots to fly their private jets. Dana said Josh Yoder, the boss [of] the US Freedom Flyers, … is receiving inquiries from elites interested in hiring unvaccinated pilots for their business trips.
This quote generated headlines in equally disreputable conspiracy outlets suggesting that the WEF itself was looking for these pilots. For example, conspiracy peddler NewsPunch ran a story with the headline: “WEF Hires Unvaccinated Pilots To Take To Davos,” which claimed that WEF founder and president “Klaus Schwab…banned vaccinated pilots from transporting …members in and out of Davos due to the security risk they pose.”
Loder, on Twitter, denied suggesting that the WEF was looking for these pilots. Instead, he said “wealthy businessmen have approached me” with the aim of finding unvaccinated pilots to fly to Davos. This claim is totally unverifiable and comes from an activist who regularly promotes conspiracy theorists while suggesting that Anthony Fauci is a Nazi.
Because the WEF is not looking for unvaccinated pilots, and because the purported source of this claim explicitly rejected that interpretation, the main claims about the WEF’s preference for unvaccinated pilots are “false.”
Adl-Tabatabai, Sean. “WEF hires unvaccinated pilots to fly to Davos: ‘The safety of our members is the number 1 priority’.” News Punch, January 15, 2023, https://newspunch.com/wef-hires-unvaccinated-pilots-to-fly-to-davos-the-safety-of-our-members-is-not-a-priority /.
“As elites pour into Davos, conspiracy theories thrive online.” AP NEWS, January 16, 2023, https://apnews.com/article/technology-pennsylvania-world-economic-forum-business-0193732c04074e595852c160d7ca1c86.
US Freedom Fighters to FAA et al, December 15, 2021. https://usfreedomflyers.org/downloads/FAA_Letter.pdf.
“Wealthy elite now ‘require’ unvaccinated crew to fly their planes, pilot claims.” Infowars, January 14, 2023, https://www.infowars.com/posts/wealthy-elite-now-requiring-unvaccinated-crew-to-fly-their-jets-pilot-claims.