Preprint study shares misleading claims about COVID-19 vaccines and cardiac arrest deaths

A preprint study authored by several known opponents of the COVID-19 vaccines claims to have found an association between an increase in COVID-19 vaccinations and an increase in cardiac arrest (when the heart suddenly stops functioning, causing loss of consciousness and breathing) deaths in King County, Washington. As of June 4, a social media post about the study received almost half a million views and 1,500 shares.

Recommendation: Engaging directly with this study’s claims may detract from key talking points. However, ensuring that COVID-19-related informational materials prebunk false and misleading claims about COVID-19 vaccines and heart inflammation is recommended. Messaging may emphasize that heart complications following COVID-19 vaccination are extremely rare and typically mild. A COVID-19 infection is much more likely to cause heart complications than a COVID-19 vaccine, and those cases are typically more severe. A 2022 study found that people who contracted COVID-19 were seven times more likely to develop inflammation of the heart muscle than those who received the vaccine. The benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any potential risks because getting vaccinated reduces the risk of developing heart complications after COVID-19 infection.