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Fake vaccine quote circulates after Betty White’s death

January 3, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: Betty White told a news outlet she received a COVID-19 vaccine booster on Dec. 28, three days before her death, saying: “Eat healthy and get all your vaccines. I just got boosted today.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The quote is fabricated. White did not receive a booster that day, her agent confirmed to The Associated Press. The news article cited by social media users does not contain the bogus quote or anything about vaccines.

THE FACTS: Days after Betty White’s death at the age of 99 was confirmed on Friday, social media users are falsely claiming “The Golden Girls” star had received a COVID-19 vaccine booster on Dec. 28, using a bogus quote to suggest her death may have been related.

Posters on Twitter and Facebook shared an image containing a quote reading, “‘Eat healthy and get all your vaccines. I just got boosted today.’ - Betty White, Dec. 28th, 2021,” alongside a link to an article in Minnesota news outlet Crow River Media, titled, “Betty White: I’m lucky to still be in good health.”

One post on Twitter shared the fabricated quote with a caption that reads, “Died 3 days later! Coincidence.”

Some users also shared the booster claim without the quote. “Is it true betty white received a booster 12/28?!?” reads one Twitter post.

But the article does not include that quote, and archived versions of the story stored by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine also do not mention COVID-19 vaccine boosters. Crow River Media did not immediately return a request for comment.

The story itself is about a Dec. 28 article in People that included quotes from White given “a few weeks” before she passed away. The People article also does not mention boosters.

White’s agent, Jeff Witjas, confirmed to the AP that the quote attributed to White is entirely false.

“Betty never said this,” Witjas said in an email.

Witjas also confirmed that White did not receive a booster on Dec. 28, though he did not comment on whether she received one at all.

The cause of White’s death has not been made public. Witjas previously told the AP that she had been staying close to her Los Angeles home during the pandemic out of caution, but had no diagnosed illness. It was unclear if she died Thursday night or Friday, he said.

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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.