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The Anti-Vaxxer Mission to Promote Nonexistent COVID-19 Vaccine Deaths

The Anti-Vaxxer Mission to Promote Nonexistent COVID-19 Vaccine Deaths

In the days since the United States began rolling out coronavirus vaccines, many Americans have been searching for information on when, where, and how they and their loved ones will be able to get a jab. The question of who gets to be first in line, and why, is inescapable.

But a small, vocal minority has begun frantically trying to find something grimmer and nonexistent: evidence that these vaccines against COVID-19 have started killing people.

“Comprehensive list of COVID vaccine-related deaths?” one Reddit user posted in a conspiracy theory-focused forum recently. “Anyone putting one together yet?”

“Pick a date and time when the first recorded death of someone who had the vaccine [sic],” another user posted. “For bonus, which news site will announce it?”

Anti-vaxxer rhetoric has, for many months now, primed some Americans to falsely believe that COVID-19 vaccines will kill people, that the powers that be will suppress it, and that they must hunt down and share evidence of this alleged outrage. Experts on anti-vaxxer rhetoric and conspiracy theories worry that this wild hunt for deaths and disaster could lead reasonable but worried people down conspiratorial rabbit holes, ultimately hindering efforts to curb this nightmare pandemic.

The current quest for deaths is so off the rails that even some old-guard vaccine skeptics are distancing themselves from the frenzy.

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