Social media users blame COVID-19 vaccine for former cheerleader’s death

A former cheerleader for the Kansas City Chiefs died from sepsis after giving birth to a stillborn baby. Social media users are making the unsubstantiated claim that her death was caused by COVID-19 vaccination. Some are also using the former cheerleader’s death to support the false claims that miscarriage and stillbirth rates are as high as 83 percent among vaccinated people and that hydroxychloroquine could have prevented her death.

Recommendation: Vaccine opponents have a well-established pattern of using highly-publicized deaths as alleged evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe. These types of posts may promote vaccine hesitancy and may discourage patients from accepting safe, proven treatments for COVID-19 in favor of unsafe, unproven options. Debunking messaging may emphasize that there is no evidence that the former cheerleader died as a result of COVID-19 vaccination, as her vaccination status is unknown to the public. Dozens of studies in over half a million people show that COVID-19 vaccines do not increase the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. COVID-19 vaccines have been rigorously tested and have been determined to be safe. The CDC recommends the updated COVID-19 vaccine for everyone 6 months and older, including pregnant people, who are more likely to become seriously ill from a COVID-19 infection. Additionally, hydroxychloroquine is ineffective in treating COVID-19 and preventing COVID-19 infection, and clinical trials showed hydroxychloroquine may cause heart problems in some COVID-19 patients. Learn more about recommended prevention methods and treatments for COVID-19 from the CDC.