Fact check: Videos of people collapsing have no connection to COVID-19 vaccines
The claim: Post implies video shows people collapsing after COVID vaccine
A widely viewed Facebook post shows a TikTok video in which a man comments on a series of clips of people fainting or collapsing.
"Why are people 'dropping' suddenly?" reads the video's caption in the Jan. 28 post (direct link, archive link).
The man in the video, which was viewed nearly 2 million times in less than a week, says:
"Now, what is the reason many people are just dropping suddenly? What do you guys think (it) could possibly be? Different heart conditions is going on – suddenly. Different young people dropping in sports – suddenly. And what's even more interesting is they don't really blow that up on the media. What could possibly be the reason?"
Commenters connected the fainting incidents with the COVID-19 vaccine.
"Oddly this started happening in the past 2 years," said one commenter.
"Coincidentally when everyone got the jab," replied another.
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Our rating: Missing context
The implied claim here is wrong. Four of the six clips in the montage were circulating online before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the other two involved people who had not yet been vaccinated.
Most clips in video are from before the COVID-19 pandemic
The video attempts to connect the collapses to the COVID-19 vaccine, but four of the six clips predate both the vaccine and COVID-19 itself. They show:
Former Gov. of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, collapsing during a speech – 2017
Burkina Faso's former foreign minister, Djibrill Bassole, collapsing at a press conference – 2013
Air Force Maj. Gen. James Martin Jr. fainting during a news conference – 2016
Former Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva collapsing during speech – 2014
Neither of the remaining clips involved someone who had received a COVID-19 vaccination.
One clip, uploaded to YouTube in July 2020, shows a man collapsing in Britain while talking to then-Prince Charles. However, the vaccine wasn't approved in that country until December of that year, after the video was already online.
The other clip shows a Danish health official fainting in 2021. However, the Danish Medicines Agency told the Associated Press and a Danish fact-checking publication that the official had not received the vaccine when the incident occurred.
Fact check: False claim that sudden arrhythmic death syndrome is linked to vaccine
While the COVID-19 vaccine can, in rare cases, cause cardiac problems, USA TODAY has previously debunked false claims that tie the vaccine to specific athletes' injuries and deaths.
Heart attack deaths have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to researchers at Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai. The researchers believe these deaths are attributable to COVID-19 infection because surges in deaths have been correlated with surges of infection in the population.
The video was also debunked by Lead Stories and Politifact.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the post for comment.
Our fact-check sources:
Associated Press, April 19, 2021, Vaccine not related to Danish health official’s collapse on camera
Associated Press (YouTube), Jan. 23, 2017, Minnesota Gov. Dayton Collapses During Speech
CNN (YouTube), Feb. 10, 2016, Major general faints during news conference
Euronews (YouTube), June 10, 2014, Portuguese president collapses during speech to military
AFP (YouTube), May 9, 2013, Burkina Faso foreign minister collapses in Turkey
The Telegraph (YouTube), July 9, 2020, Asda employee faints in front of Prince Charles
TRT World News (YouTube), April 15, 2021, Denmark official faints during Covid-19 conference
Nature, Dec. 3, 2020, The UK has approved a COVID vaccine — here’s what scientists now want to know
Politifact, Jan. 31, Videos of people ‘dropping suddenly’ aren’t related to COVID-19 vaccines
Lead Stories, Jan. 30, Fact check: Videos do not show people 'dropping suddenly' because of the COVID vaccine
USA TODAY, July 11, 2022, Fact check: False claim that sudden arrhythmic death syndrome is linked to vaccine
Tjekdet, April 21, 2021, Fake news is circulating in Greece that the head of the Danish Medicines Agency has died after feeling unwell (Google translation)
Cedars-Sinai, Oct. 24, 2022, COVID-19 surges linked to spike in heart attacks
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Collapses in video have no tie to COVID-19 vaccines