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COVID-19 vaccines fake quote

Fabricated Betty White quote used to push vaccine falsehood

An image containing a fabricated quote attributed to actor and comedian Betty White went viral hours after her death on Dec. 31, 2021. The quote falsely states that White just had gotten a COVID-19 vaccine booster and baselessly implied that it was a factor in her death. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A tweet that says “I knew she did not just die for no reason” with a screenshot of another social media post that says “Boosters getting more effective. ’Eat healthy and get all your vaccines. I just got boosted today.’ -Betty White, Dec 28th, 2021.” The screenshot includes a URL and a social media preview that has a photo of Betty White. The words “She got the booster Dec 28th….ooooppps!” appear on the image. The News Literacy Project has added a label that says “FABRICATED QUOTE.”
Betty White did not say, that she got her COVID-19 vaccine booster on Dec. 28, 2021.
This is a fabricated quote.
The quote never appeared in the report from Crow River Media that is included in this viral screenshot.
White’s agent also told the Associated Press that she did not receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster on Dec. 28 and that the quote was fake.

NewsLit takeaway

Propagators of anti-vaccine disinformation previously have seized on celebrity deaths — including baseball great Hank Aaron; boxer Marvin Hagler; Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh; and rapper DMX — to falsely impugn the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. Remember: Vaccinated people also die of other causes and a significant portion of the population, including celebrities, are vaccinated. Posts that falsely connect high-profile deaths to vaccines are often attempting to exploit the public’s emotions to generate fear and distrust. This particular rumor has another red flag: The fake quote has been added to a screenshot of a social media preview for an actual article in which the quote never appeared. This lends the fabricated quote an air of authenticity without providing a clickable link, making it less likely that people will check the alleged source to confirm that the quote is authentic.

Related: “‘Vaccine’ Is Merriam-Webster’s Word Of The Year 2021, Here’s How They Updated Their Definition” (Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes).

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