Lynnae Erick got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on May 17.
Shortly after the shot, she posted on her Facebook page, mentioning a sore arm and fatigue — typical post-vaccination side-effects.
But in the following days, the 50-year-old Kelowna woman’s condition worsened. She again took to Facebook on May 22, telling her friends, “I really wish I didn’t get this shot.” She couldn’t stay awake and there was a pain in the side of her neck.
On May 23, she made her final update. “Happy Sunday,” she wrote, adorning the post with a sun emoji.
A day later, Erick, a beloved mother, wife and friend, died.
And people outside of that close-knit circle, people who didn’t know Erick, jumped to conclusions.
Some took to social media, attributing Erick’s death to complications caused by the vaccine. Citing her recent social media posts, they decided it was the vaccine that killed her.
Medical health professionals said otherwise, according to Erick’s close friend Amanda Stevenson who spoke to Capital News on behalf of the grieving family.
“Lynnae did not die from her shot,” said Stevenson. “She did have health conditions, serious health conditions … The doctor said it had nothing to do with the shot, the timing was poor, but she passed from her illness.”
Stevenson did not name the exact illnesses Erick endured out of respect to she and the family’s privacy.
Stevenson posted a tear-filled video shaming the people spreading false claims to Facebook the day after Erick’s death after she and others received several accusatory messages asserting they were “trying to hide the truth,” among other claims. One person received a death threat.
“The family is really disheartened and distraught over the fact that Lynnae’s name is being pulled into any of this by presumptuous people that are using this for their own reasoning and agendas,” she said.
Despite the social media turmoil that came in the wake of Erick’s death, her husband and her 12-year-old daughter got their first jab on May 28 — Pfizer, the same vaccination Erick received.
“If he had any worry that the vaccine had anything to do with his wife’s death, they would not have got their own vaccines,” said Stevenson.
Vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VITT, is the name of the rare, potentially deadly blood-clotting syndrome associated but not definitively linked with viral vector vaccines, such as Oxford-AstraZeneca. Health officials have not tied VITT to mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines like the Pfizer that Erick got.
To help the family with expenses related to Erick’s death and to support her daughter in the future, Stevenson set up an online fundraiser.
“She was always the first person to offer kindness and generosity to anyone and the last person to ever ask for help, so I am going to do that for her,” Stevenson wrote on the GoFundMe page.
“I truly hope that those who knew her will find it in their heart to help her daughter at this horribly sad time.”
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