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Anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists flood social media with fake reports of sudden deaths from COVID s

A health worker administers a dose of COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic in Reading, Pa. On Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. (Matt Rourke/AP)
A health worker administers a dose of COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic in Reading, Pa. On Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. (Matt Rourke/AP)

How effective are COVID-19 vaccines? Researchers estimate that the shots prevented about 2 million American deaths in the first year after they were introduced, in addition to preventing serious illness and hospitalizations.

But that’s not stopping conspiracy theorists from spreading misinformation about the shots, including the use of the hashtag #DiedSuddenly, to falsely claim that sudden deaths — particularly among children, actors and athletes — are caused by the vaccines.

The movement, which includes a “documentary” by the same name, is causing outrage among families who say their loved ones did not die of vaccine-related complications — among them a parent whose son died in a 2017 accident, years before the pandemic.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks to Renee DiResta, technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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