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Dr. A. Oveta Fuller, who served on the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine and biological products advisory committee, played a key role in vetting and approving emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fuller died Nov. 18 at age 67 from an illness not related to COVID-19, according to the University of Michigan Medical School, where she worked.
There is no evidence that Fuller’s death was related to COVID-19 vaccines.
The recent death of an internationally renowned virologist led to misleading social media posts linking her death to COVID-19 vaccines.
Recent Instagram posts imply without evidence that Dr. A. Oveta Fuller’s death was suspicious and COVID-19 vaccines played a role. The posts show a screenshot of an article about Fuller with the headline, "Top virologist who voted for vaccine mandates dies ‘suddenly and unexpectedly.’"
"Well this is curious," said the caption on a Nov. 25 Instagram post. "The stories keep coming. Don’t normalize suddenly and unexpectedly regardless of who they are."
The caption on a different Instagram post, shared Nov. 27, said, "I’m sure her death will be labeled under the new (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome) that describes people dropping dead relatively young."
These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
Claims about "sudden deaths" as a result of COVID-19 vaccines continue to circulate widely on social media, despite a lack of evidence. Multiple studies and scientific reviews found no association between vaccination and deaths in people of any age, except in rare cases.
Fuller served on the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine and biological products advisory committee, playing a key role in vetting and approving emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. She died Nov. 18 at age 67 from an illness not related to COVID-19, her employer, the University of Michigan Medical School, told PolitiFact.
For more than three decades, Fuller served as a University of Michigan Medical School faculty member specializing in microbiology and immunology. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Fuller also helped educate communities in Africa about the impact of HIV and AIDS.
Details about Fuller’s cause of death are not yet available. Fuller’s death certificate had not been filed as of Nov. 29, according to the clerk’s office in Washtenaw County, Michigan, where Fuller lived. The Washtenaw County medical examiner’s office said there was no record of an autopsy report for Fuller.
Multiple Instagram posts suggested that Fuller’s death was linked to COVID-19 vaccines.
Fuller died from an illness not related to COVID-19, and there is no evidence linking the vaccine to her death.
We rate this claim False.
Instagram post, Nov. 25, 2022
Instagram post, Nov. 27, 2022
Instagram post, Nov. 26, 2022
Instagram post, Nov. 27, 2022
Email exchange, Kelly Malcolm, spokesperson, University of Michigan Medical School, Nov. 29, 2022
Email exchange, Elizabeth Schultz, senior clerk, Washtenaw County clerk’s office, Nov. 29, 2022
Email exchange, Kristin LaMaire, spokesperson, Washtenaw County medical examiner’s office, Nov. 28, 2022
AFRO News, "TCR breaking news: Prominent virologist and AME itinerant elder Dr. A. Oveta Fuller Dies at Age 67," Nov. 21, 2022
University of Michigan Medical School, "A. Oveta Fuller, Ph.D. faculty page," accessed Nov. 28, 2022
University of Michigan Medical School, "Dr. Oveta Fuller, November, 18, 2022," Nov. 19, 2022
Food and Drug Administration, "Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, June 28, 2022, Meeting Roster," June 28, 2022
Detroit Local 4 WDIV, "Dr. A. Oveta Fuller of University of Michigan Medicine passes away at 67," Nov. 19, 2022
PolitiFact, "Vaccines are not linked to sudden death in any age group," April 6, 2022
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