Autopsy results on 6-year-old Anastasia Weaver could take weeks. But online anti-vaccine activists needed only hours after. His funeral this week to baselessly blame the COVID-19 vaccine.A widespread Twitter account posted Anastasia’s name. And comical died dancing portrait in a tweet with a syringe emoji.
A Facebook user messaged her mother, Jessica Day-Weaver, calling her . Amurderer” for vaccinating her child.
In reality, the Ohio kindergartner had faced lifelong health problems since his premature birth. Including epilepsy, asthma and frequent hospitalizations with respiratory viruses.
“The doctors didn’t give us any information other than that because of all her chronic conditions. … Never thought it could be from the vaccine,” Day-Weaver said of her daughter’s death.
But those facts didn’t matter online, where Anastasia was quickly added. To the growing list of hundreds of children, teenagers, athletes. And celebrities whose unexpected deaths and injuries. Have been wrongly attributed to COVID-19 shots. Using the hashtag #diedsuddenly, online conspiracy theorists.
Have flooded social media in recent months with news reports. Obituaries and GoFundMe pages, leaving grieving families to grapple with the lies.
There’s the 37-year-old Brazilian television host. Who collapsed live on air due to congenital heart problems. 18-year-old unvaccinated bull rider who died of a rare disease. The 32-year-old actress who died of complications from a bacterial infection.
An analysis conducted for the media intelligence firm Zignal Labs found. That the use of “suddenly died” — or a misspelled version of it — rose more than 740% in tweets. About vaccines in the past two months compared to the previous two months. Assistant Press.
The explosion of the phrase began in late November with the debut of an online “documentary” of the same name. Which experts say is a new and harmful shorthand.
“It’s a kind of in-group language, a kind of wink, nudge, nudge. Said Renee DiResta, technical research manager. At the Stanford Internet Observatory. “They’re taking something that’s a relatively routine.
Way of describing something—people dying, actually, unexpectedly. And then assigning a hashtag to it, they’re lumping all these events together in one place.”
The campaign also causes harm beyond the Internet, epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Zetelina said.
“The real danger is that it eventually leads to real-world actions like not giving vaccines,” said Zetelina. Who tracks and breaks down COVID data for her blog, “Your Local Epidemiologist.”
Rigorous studies and real-world evidence from millionsOf administered shots demonstrate that the COVID-19. Vaccine is safe and effective. Deaths due to vaccination are extremely rare and the risk of not getting vaccinated is much greater than the risk of getting vaccinated.
But that hasn’t stopped conspiracy theorists from making. Avariety of false accusations against vaccines.
The film “Died Suddenly” features a montage of headlines found on Google claiming that sudden death “has never happened before.” The film has garnered more than 20 million views on an alternative video sharing website. And its companion Twitter account posts more deaths and injuries every day.
An AP review of more than 100 tweets from the account in December. And January found that claims about vaccine-related lawsuits were largely unsubstantiated and. In some cases, contradicted by public information. Some people die from genetic disorders, drug overdoses, flu complications or suicide. One person died in a surfing accident.
The filmmakers did not respond to specific questions from the AP, instead issuing a statement that cited an “increase. In accidental deaths” and “proven rates of excess deaths” without providing information.
The overall death toll in the U.S. has been higher than expected since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Partly due to the virus, overdoses and other causes. COVID-19 vaccines have prevented nearly 2 million US deaths in their first year of use.
Some of the deaths exploited in the film predate the pandemic. California writer Dolores Cruz published an essay in 2022 about grieving her son, who died in a car accident in 2017. The film used a screenshot titled “Sudden Death”, depicting his death as vaccine-related.
“Without my permission, someone took his story to show one side, and I don’t appreciate that,” Cruise said in an interview. “His legacy and memory are being tarnished.”
Others featured in the film survived – but were forced. To watch clips of their medical emergencies misrepresented around the world. Brazilian TV presenter Rafael Silva. Who collapsed while reporting on air due to a congenital heart defect, “died suddenly” before using the film footage.