A photo circulating on social media that depicts a young boy crying as he receives a shot – while held by a smiling woman – is being linked to the death of a young boy in Great Britain.
“Helen Blythe the mother in this picture was so happy to get her baby his V,” reads a Dec. 11 Facebook post. “Now he is dead. Died suddenly. It keeps happening!! Its not rare!!”
Other posts on Facebook made similar claims.
But the woman in the photo is not Blythe, nor is the boy Blythe’s son. The image shows a different woman posing with her son, who is alive. The death of Blythe’s son was not tied to the COVID-19 vaccine.
USA TODAY reached out to Facebook users who shared the post for comment.
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Blythe is a real person, but she and her son are not depicted in the image.
The people in the photo are Kaye Steinsapir – an attorney and wife of Michael Jackson estate lawyer Jonathan Steinsapir – and their son Eli. Kaye Steinsapir is known on social media for openly sharing her grief journey after the couple lost their daughter, Molly, in a biking accident.
Steinsapir tweeted her own debunk of the image under a different tweet taking the image out of context.
“(The photo) was taken by our other son, and yes, both of us were smiling a few seconds earlier,” she wrote in a Dec. 6 tweet. “I shared it in response to a specific question, and it was taken out of context. I am glad to help normalize vaccines. Haters gonna hate.”
Another tweet shows Steinsapir’s son wearing the same mask as the boy in the viral photo. Steinsapir did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment, but posts on her Instagram account confirm he is alive.
More:First known death from omicron variant reported in the UK. Everything to know about the latest COVID strain.
Blythe lives in the United Kingdom. Her 5-year-old son, Benedict, died suddenly after becoming ill at school on Dec. 1, according to the Peterborough Telegraph.
The COVID-19 vaccine had nothing to do with his death. In the United Kingdom, children under 12 aren’t yet eligible to be vaccinated against the virus.
In an email, Blythe confirmed to USA TODAY that her son had not been vaccinated.
“His death was not a result of a reaction to COVID-19 vaccine because he didn’t have it,” Blythe said, citing the United Kingdom’s vaccine rules for young kids.
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a photo shows Blythe and her son, who died after receiving COVID-19 vaccine. The image shows a different woman posing with her son, who is alive. The death of Blythe’s son was not tied to a COVID-19 vaccine. He did not receive a vaccine.
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