Star rapper Earl Simmons, who went by the stage name DMX, died on Friday at age 50 after having spent a week on life support in the wake of a heart attack. And now, a number of far-right social media accounts are spreading a groundless claim that his death was linked to a COVID-19 vaccine.
To be clear: No deaths have been directly attributed to the coronavirus vaccines, but rather there is a dangerous trend of conspiracy theory-promoting social media accounts linking vaccines with any negative health events that have occurred among the literally hundreds of millions of doses that have been administered worldwide.
Some background knowledge: In many stories about purported vaccine deaths, conspiracy theorists have latched onto examples that involved preexisting conditions or unrelated illnesses, and removed this crucial context from their ensuing fearmongering. For example, a series of viral online posts back in December focused on four cases of Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes facial paralysis, among vaccine test subjects. However, these cases were found to have been “consistent with the expected background rate in the general population,” and thus unlikely to have been linked to the vaccine at all.