Colorado Boy, 4, Dies Of Flu After Anti-Vaxxers Urged Mum Not To Give Him Meds From Doctor
A four-year-old boy from Colorado has died after anti-vaxxers advised his mother to treat his flu with oils, elderberries and by putting potatoes in his socks.
This advice was given out via the ‘Stop Mandatory Vaccination’ Facebook group, which, with over 139,000 members, is known to be one of the largest health misinformation groups on the platform.
Group members have previously been accused of spreading conspiracy theories that preventable disease outbreaks are just ‘hoaxes’ perpetrated by the government. They have also reportedly contacted parents of deceased children to claim – without evidence – vaccines were to blame for their deaths.
One recent post on the group was from the mother of a four-year-old boy who has since sadly died from the flu. In her post, the mother consulted fellow group members while noting she had declined to get an antiviral prescription that had written by a doctor.
Although the boy had not yet been diagnosed, he had a fever and had suffered a seizure. Two out of her four children had been diagnosed with the flu, with the doctor having written out a prescription for the antiviral medication Tamiflu for each member of the family.
The mother detailed how the ‘natural cures’ she was treating her children with – such as remedies including peppermint oil, vitamin C and lavender — had proven ineffective, and asked the group members for further advice.
Suggestions from group members included the use of breast milk, thyme and elderberry, none of which are medically recommended flu treatments. Responding to their advice, the mother said, ‘Perfect, I’ll try that’.
Not one member of the group suggested the boy required medical attention. He was eventually hospitalised and died four days later, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his family. This was confirmed following verification by NBC News.
Following the incident, a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement:
This is a tragedy and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. We don’t want vaccine misinformation on Facebook, which is why we’re working hard to reduce it everywhere on the platform, including in private groups.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed to NBC News the child had passed away after getting the flu, but did not have records showing whether or not he had been vaccinated.
The mother’s most recent posts have since been deleted from the ‘Stop Mandatory Vaccination’ group. However, in group posts dating back to 2017, she stated she had not given her children flu vaccinations.
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