After Danish soccer player Christian Eriksen collapsed during a Euro Cup match June 12, misinformation about the 29-year-old’s Covid-19 vaccination status is circulating. The game, a Group B opener between Denmark and Finland, was paused for over an hour until news arrived that Eriksen, a midfielder, was conscious and speaking at a hospital; he was later reported to have suffered cardiac arrest.
That an otherwise healthy young athlete would experience cardiac arrest — a phenomenon that is rare but not unheard of — prompted baseless speculation that Eriksen had been vaccinated against Covid-19 and subsequently experienced one of the small number of reported cases of myocarditis. The European Medicines Agency, along with others elsewhere, are investigating a possible link between myocarditis and mRNA-based vaccines.
The rumor that Eriksen had received the Pfizer vaccine appears to have been heavily promoted by fringe physicist and blogger Luboš Motl, who has shared false and misleading claims about Covid-19 and vaccines. Motl’s Twitter post was in turn amplified by figures such as Alex Berenson, a former New York Times journalist who has been criticized for making false and misleading claims about Covid-19 vaccines.
Motl took down his tweet after the director of Inter Milan, Giuseppe Marotta, said Eriksen had neither been vaccinated against Covid-19 nor had previously contracted the disease. Berenson’s post containing a screenshot of Motl’s now-deleted tweet remains live and has at least 1,300 shares. Although Berenson acknowledged Marotta’s comments in multiple follow-up tweets, he also implied Eriksen might still have received a Covid-19 vaccine.
Other figures, including conservative Brazilian journalist Allan Dos Santos, amplified the false claims about Eriksen in a tweet that has received at least 3,000 shares. Dos Santos has not as of yet acknowledged Marotta’s statement. Meanwhile, a screenshot of Motl’s post was shared in the Telegram channel Covid Vaccine Injuries, which has over 15,700 subscribers. “Let’s see how the issue is spun out in the media,” the post read in part. — First Draft staff