‘Suddenly died’ post twists tragedy to spread vaccine lies

Autopsy results for 6-year-old Anastasia Weaver could take weeks. But online anti-vaccine activists had to baselessly denounce her vaccine for COVID-19 hours after her funeral this week.

The prolific Twitter account tweeted Anastasia’s name and smiling dancing portrait along with a syringe emoji. A Facebook user messaged her mother, Jessica Day-Weaver, to call her a “murderer” for getting her child vaccinated.

In fact, an Ohio kindergartener had experienced lifelong health problems since her premature birth, including epilepsy, asthma, and frequent hospitalizations for respiratory viruses. They didn’t provide any information other than that … I didn’t think the vaccine could have been the cause,” Dayweaver said of her daughter’s death.

But those facts didn’t matter online.Anastasia has been accused of killing hundreds of children, teens, athletes, and others whose unexpected deaths and injuries have been falsely attributed to COVID-19 shots. Using the hashtag #diedsuddenly, online conspiracy theorists have flooded social media in recent months with news reports, obituaries, GoFundMe pages, and grieving families. is fighting lies.

A 37-year-old Brazilian TV host collapsed from a congenital heart defect during a live broadcast. The 32-year-old actress died of complications from a bacterial infection.

Media intelligence firm Zignal Labs is in The Associated Press. The proliferation of the phrase stemmed from the release of his eponymous online “documentary” in late November, giving power to what experts say is a new and harmful shorthand.

Renee DiResta, Technical Research Manager at Stanford Internet Observatory, said: “They employ a relatively mundane way of explaining something — people die unexpectedly, in fact — and by assigning hashtags to it, all these incidents she Consolidate in one place.”

Epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Jetelina says the campaign is damaging more than the internet.

Jetelina, who tracks and analyzes COVID data on the blog Your Local Epidemiologist, said:

Rigorous studies and real-world evidence from hundreds of millions of doses prove it. COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effectiveVaccination deaths are extremely rare, and the risk for non-vaccination is much higher than for vaccination. But that hasn’t stopped conspiracy theorists from making various false accusations about vaccines.

The “Sudden Death” movie features a montage of headlines found on Google, falsely suggesting that Sudden Death proves “never like this before.” The film has over 20 million views on another video-sharing website of his, and his associated Twitter account is posting more casualties each day.

An AP review of more than 100 tweets from accounts in December and January found that claims about vaccine-related cases were largely unfounded and, in some cases, contradicted public information. Some of those featured died from genetic diseases, drug overdoses, flu complications, or suicide. One died in a surfing accident.

The filmmakers did not respond to specific questions from the AP, but instead issued a statement referring to “sudden death spikes” and “proven excess mortality” without providing any data.

The total number of deaths in the United States is higher than expected Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, partly Viruses, overdose, and other causesCOVID-19 vaccine Prevented about 2 million US deaths Only 1 year from the start of use.

Some of the deaths exploited in the film predate the pandemic. California author Dolores Cruz published an essay in his 2022 about the grief of his son who died in a car accident in 2017. “Died Suddenly” used a screenshot of the film’s headline and portrayed his death as vaccine-related.

“Someone took his story to show one side of it without my permission. I won’t admit it,” Cruz said in an interview. “His legacy and memory are bruised.”

Others in the film survived but were forced to watch clips of misrepresented medical emergencies around the world. Because of this, he collapsed during the broadcast.

“I got the message that I should have died to be an example for others who are still thinking about getting vaccinated,” Silva said.

Jetelina said many of the online posts give no evidence, except that the deceased had been vaccinated at some point in the past.

“People assume one thing caused another just because one thing caused another,” she said.

Some claims about people with heart disease are that the COVID-19 vaccine can cause A rare inflammatory heart problem, myocarditis or pericarditis, especially in young men. Mild The benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.

Also in narration Take advantage of talking moments As Buffalo Bills safety Dumar Hamlin collapsed in agony Cardiac arrest during a match After suffering a severe blow to the chest last month. However, sudden cardiac arrest has long been the leading cause of death in the United States, and medical experts agree that the vaccine did not cause Hamlin’s injuries.

For some families, the misinformation represents a digression to their true focus on understanding why loved ones died and preventing similar tragedies.

Clint Erickson’s son, Tyler, died in September just before his 18th birthday while playing golf near his home in Florida. but the exact reason is still unknown. Tyler wasn’t vaccinated, but his story nevertheless appeared in the movie Sudden Death.

“It bothers me that he’s being used like that,” Erickson said. But “the biggest personal problem I have is trying to find an answer or closure to what caused this.”

Day-Weaver said it was upsetting to see people take advantage of her death without knowing anything about her. Little did they know that she loved people and had just learned how to hug strangers and snap at Walmart.

Still, Dayweaver said: even they.


Natalia Scarabotto of Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.