Michigan ‘health freedom’ group alleges that a 17-year-old girl died after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine

Last week, a “health freedom” group in Michigan shared a social media post claiming, without evidence, that a 17-year-old girl died shortly after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Comments on the post express concerns about vaccine mandates for students. One social media user wrote, “They are still requiring healthy young kids to take this vaccine on college campuses. I’m just sick about it.”

Recommendation: Vaccine opponents frequently exploit sudden and unexplained deaths to promote false claims about vaccine safety. Trending conversations about this alleged death provide an opportunity for health departments, community-based organizations, and other partners in Michigan to educate target populations on the safety and importance of COVID-19 vaccination, particularly for young adults. Continuing to reiterate that COVID-19 vaccines have been rigorously tested and determined to be safe, as adverse effects are extremely rare, is recommended. Messaging may also emphasize that a COVID-19 infection can lead to severe illness, hospitalization, death, and long COVID in people of all ages. Staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines reduces the risk of negative health outcomes from a COVID-19 infection.