FACT CHECK: Did The Kaiser Permanente CEO Die Just Days After Getting A Flu Shot?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A Facebook post shared more than 200 times claims that the late Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson died just days after receiving a flu shot.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that Tyson died shortly after receiving the flu vaccine. A Kaiser Permanente spokesman called the story “completely false.”

Fact Check:

Tyson, the chairman and CEO of health care provider Kaiser Permanente, died unexpectedly in his sleep on Nov. 10. (RELATED: Trump Says Health Care Premiums Are Dropping Under His Watch)

The Facebook post, which has been shared more than 200 times, includes a screen grab of a tweet from Tyson’s verified social media page, showing him receiving a flu vaccination. The tweet dates back to October 2018.

“When the CEO of Kaiser dies in his sleep a few days after publicly taking a flu vaccine,” reads the Facebook caption. “At age 60.”

However, there is no evidence that Tyson died after receiving a flu shot. An internet search shows no credible media outlets reporting that a flu vaccine played a role in his death. To date, neither Kaiser Permanente nor his family has disclosed the cause of his death.

John Nelson, the vice president of communications for Kaiser Permanente, confirmed in an email to the Daily Caller that the claim was false.

“He passed away suddenly, leaving his family, friends and colleagues grieving,” wrote Nelson in an email to the Caller. “His memory deserves better than a completely false story created by people who know nothing about him or the circumstances of his passing.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months of age and older get the annual flu vaccine.

Common side effects of the flu shot include low-grade fever, headaches, fatigue and soreness at the site of the injection, according to the CDC. Life-threatening allergic reactions and Guillain-Barre syndrome can occur after receiving the vaccine, but they are extremely uncommon and rarely fatal, according to Peter Hotez, the dean of Baylor College of Medicine’s National School of Tropical Medicine.

“It is exceedingly rare for someone to die of a reaction to a flu vaccine, far far less than those who die from not being vaccinated and dying from flu, which are thousands per year,” said John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health professor Albert Wu in an email to the Caller.

Approximately 45 percent of adults in the U.S. got the flu vaccine during the 2018-2019 season, according to the CDC. A study from the CDC found that flu vaccinations prevented an estimated 7.1 million flu illnesses and 8,000 flu-related deaths during the 2017-2018 season.

Tyson was a vocal advocate of vaccinating against the flu, having tweeted numerous times about its importance in protecting people from contracting the virus.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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