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Vaccine not related to Danish health official’s collapse on camera

April 19, 2021 GMT
Tanja Erichsen, Head of Unit at the Danish Medicines Agency (R) and Soeren Brostroem, Director of the National Board of Health explains why the AstraZeneca vaccine is stopped in Denmark during a press briefing in Copenhagen April 14, 2021. Posts online falsely claimed that Erichsen collapsed during the conference due to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Tanja Erichsen, Head of Unit at the Danish Medicines Agency (R) and Soeren Brostroem, Director of the National Board of Health explains why the AstraZeneca vaccine is stopped in Denmark during a press briefing in Copenhagen April 14, 2021. Posts online falsely claimed that Erichsen collapsed during the conference due to the COVID-19 vaccine.

CLAIM: Video shows Denmark’s top health official fainting from her COVID-19 vaccine. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. One of Denmark’s top health officials, Tanja Erichsen, collapsed during an April 14 press conference to discuss the country’s decision to discontinue use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but it was not related to the vaccine. She has not yet been vaccinated against the disease. 

THE FACTS: The video showing Erichsen, acting director of pharmacovigilance at the Danish Medicines Agency, collapse is being misrepresented by anti-vaccine proponents to falsely claim that she fainted as a result of receiving the AstraZeneca shot. 

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Her fall received international press coverage that day, but footage from the video was picked up and circulated online with the false description of what happened.  

“Literally Denmark’s top health official fainting from the COVID-19 shot,” claimed one Instagram post that shared the video.  

Shortly after Erichsen’s fall, Danish Health Authority Director General Soeren Brostroem told reporters at the conference that she was ok. He said she blacked out from overwork and standing too long. 

A spokesperson for the Danish Medicines Agency, Kim Voigt Østrøm, told the AP that Erichsen has yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine despite what the posts online say. 

Erichsen tweeted Monday to say that she was feeling well and to thank everyone for their concern. 

Denmark has primarily relied on vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna and will continue to use those vaccines rather than AstraZeneca. The decision to discontinue AstraZeneca came after reports of rare blood clots in some recipients.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536