The overwhelming evidence, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, both for adults and children 12 and up. Also, the FDA is expected to authorize a COVID-19 vaccine for younger children in the coming weeks.
But false claims are circulating on social media saying the COVID-19 vaccines are harmful to children and caused the death of a Sonoma County teenager.
CapRadio’s PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols fact-checked those claims in this week's Can You Handle the Truth segment.
He spoke with anchor Randol White.
There are false claims spreading on social media saying the vaccines are harmful. You found one high-profile example. Tell us about that.
A story went viral on Twitter and Facebook after the tragic death of a 15-year-old boy in Sonoma County this summer.
He had received the second dose of his vaccine within 48 hours of his death, and some anti-vaccination groups used that information to make the false claim that the vaccine caused his death.
I contacted Sonoma County spokesperson Paul Gullixson about this. Here’s what he told me:
“The case was thoroughly investigated by the Sonoma County coroner's office in partnership with the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," Gullixson said. "Forensic experts from all those agencies have concluded that there was no evidence the vaccine caused the death.”
So, there’s no evidence the vaccine caused the death. Were the experts able to determine what did cause his death?
They concluded he died of what is called stress cardiomyopathy, or heart failure with coronary artery inflammation.
The CDC says there have been rare cases where young people developed heart inflammation after receiving the Covid 19 vaccines, correct?
That is correct. And the agency says people should seek medical care if they have symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath or feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart. They say most patients respond well to medicine and rest, and feel better quickly.
But again the experts who looked at this Sonoma County case said they could not find a link to the vaccine. They described this as a perplexing case: the boy did not have a history of heart problems.
Here is Gullixson:
“We had cardio forensic pathologists, we had pediatric cardiologists looking at this case and they all agree it's a very rare and tragic and complicated case. But they could find no direct link between the death and the vaccines," Gullixson said.
In response to the posts circulating on social media, the family of the boy who died provided a message to the public. What did they say?
They did. They told the Press Democrat newspaper in Santa Rosa, that “We feel strongly that everyone should have their children vaccinated.”
They went on to say:
“We believe vaccines are safe and effective. Families should recognize that complicating factors can occur with any vaccine and, because of that, we encourage parents to closely monitor their children ... following vaccination regardless if they have symptoms or not.”
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