Instagram post misleads UK defibrillators and COVID-19 vaccines

A young man in England died of sudden cardiac arrest on New Year’s Day. His grieving family members have since made it their mission to install publicly accessible defibrillators in his hometown – which they believe could have saved his life.

Now a social media user is trying to link his death to COVID-19 vaccines.

“Defibrillators are being installed across the UK. This initiative was partly led by the parent of a young child who recently suffered from heart failure and died,” read the caption of a post. September 9 Instagram. “I wonder if this initiative has anything to do with why the UK suddenly stopped injections for (children) under the age of eleven.”

Defibrillators are devices used to send a shock to the heart to restore normal heart rhythm and can be used to treat someone with sudden cardiac arrest, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The Instagram post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Meta, owners of Facebook and Instagram.)

The post features a video of a man talking about something he calls “quite concerning”. He shows a photo of a defibrillator kiosk, then points to a map which he says shows “10,000 across England”.

“I’m sure it’s nothing harmful at all,” he said, seemingly sarcastically.

The good news: it’s nothing bad. The Instagram post is wrong on three counts: it wasn’t a young child who died; there is no UK-wide effort to install defibrillators, but there is one to show where they are; and some children under 11 can still receive COVID-19 vaccines.

The post said the effort came from a parent of a “young child” who died of sudden cardiac arrest. He links to an article in the Mirror, a British publication, which details the efforts of a mother in Rugby, England, to have 20 outdoor defibrillators (not 10,000) installed in her town (not all of England) after the death of his 18 years. one year old son.

Jamie Rees collapsed on New Years Day and died in hospital four days later, his family said. They said he could have survived if he had had access to a defibrillator during a long wait for an ambulance. Rees’ family did not mention the COVID-19 vaccine in the Mirror article, in several press interviews or on websites set up to raise money for the defibrillation plan.

The Instagram video shows a map of locations where defibrillators are stationed across England. This card appears to be from a private company called HeartSafe.

The company sells defibrillators, accessories and cabinets. Anyone with a defibrillator can register the device on the company’s website. The company has a map that shows people the publicly available defibrillators closest to them.

We found a version of this map from at least April 2015.

A similar database called The Circuit, funded by the British Heart Foundation, makes registered devices visible to NHS ambulances and emergency dispatchers who can direct callers to the nearest location.

The defibrillator kiosk shown in the Instagram post is from Manchester, England, according to the caption provided on the Alamy stock photos website. The city has a program run by nonprofit group CityCo and the North West Ambulance Service to ensure people there have easy access to lifesaving devices. The program predates the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Office for National Statistics said in July that there was “no evidence of a change in the number of heart-related deaths or deaths occurring from any cause following vaccination against coronavirus (COVID-19) in young people aged 12 to 29. In England.”

The UK has not stopped giving all COVID-19 vaccines to children under 11, as the Instagram post claims. However, it has recently limited which children in this age group can receive them.

All UK children aged 5-11 had been declared eligible for COVID-19 vaccines earlier this year. But the UK Health Security Agency began in September to limit vaccination in some children in this age group, the Guardian reported.

The National Health Service updated its website in September to say that for children in the 5-11 age group, those who turned 5 on or before August 31, 2022 can still receive a first and second dose of COVID-19. vaccine.

However, children who turn 5 years old after that date can only get the vaccine if they are “at high risk due to a medical condition or a weakened immune system”, or if they they live with someone who has a weakened immune system.

The Health Security Agency told the Guardian and fact-checking organization Full Fact that was the plan from the start, although the National Health Service did not initially make that distinction on its website.

Our decision

An Instagram post claimed that thousands of defibrillators were fitted across the UK after the sudden death of a young child, and linked this to changes in eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine for children in the UK .

The death mentioned in the message was that of an 18-year-old man, not a child. There is no evidence that his death was linked to COVID-19 vaccines. The map of defibrillator locations shown in the video is from a public access database that predates COVID-19. There is no widespread effort to install defibrillators across the UK, but there are efforts to show people where they are.

Finally, the UK has not stopped giving COVID-19 vaccines to all children aged 5-11, although there are eligibility restrictions.

We rate this claim as false.

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