Georgia school form on sudden cardiac arrest risks isn’t new

January 28, 2023 GMT

CLAIM: A “Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Form” is now being issued in Georgia high schools, suggesting a new phenomenon relating to the COVID-19 vaccines.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. That form has been given to families of Georgia students since 2019. A spokesperson for the high school association that published the document noted that it is distributed in accordance with state law.

THE FACTS: Social media posts are spreading an image of an educational form provided to Georgia families focused on sudden cardiac arrest — with some users erroneously implying that it is related to COVID-19 vaccines.

“Parents are now having to sign a Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Form. But remember the Jab is safe enough to give to babies,” reads one tweet with the image.

Another tweet shared by nearly 2,000 users declared: “BREAKING — Georgia High School Now Has A Sudden Cardiac Awareness Form Due Recent Increase In Sudden Cardiac Death.”

The document shown in the social media posts is titled “Georgia High School Association Student/Parent Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Form.”

But that form isn’t new and it predates both the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccines: A version of the same form available online is dated May 2019.

Steve Figueroa, a spokesperson for the Georgia High School Association, told The Associated Press that the form has been used since the 2019-2020 school year in response to a state law centered on sudden cardiac arrest prevention.

That law passed in 2019 and requires both public and private schools to hold meetings on the symptoms and warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest and to also provide an “information sheet” to parents and guardians.

“It was simply an effort to try to prevent sudden cardiac arrest in high school athletes and to alert the parents of the dangers,” Figueroa said in an email.

The form details warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest, an abrupt malfunction of the heart that is different from a heart attack.

For example, the document instructs parents to consult a doctor if their child faints suddenly or experiences chest pain or shortness of breath during exercise. It further instructs readers to call for help and begin CPR if someone collapses and requests that students and parents sign the form.

Flawed claims and deceptive videos have spread the unfounded theory that the COVID-19 vaccines are behind a wave of young athletes experiencing such cardiac issues. Cardiologists have told the AP there have been instances of athletes experiencing sudden cardiac death and cardiac arrest long before the COVID-19 pandemic and that they have not observed the dramatic increase alleged on social media.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.