Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke February 22, 2023

Evidence doesn’t support claim that Richard Belzer died because of COVID-19 vaccine

If Your Time is short

  • There’s no evidence Richard Belzer’s death is connected to a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Actor Richard Belzer, well-known for playing Detective John Munch on "Law & Order: SVU," died Feb. 19. 

The Associated Press reported that Bill Scheft, his friend who had been working on a documentary about Belzer, said there was no known cause of death. Nevertheless, some social media users have speculated that the 78-year-old died because of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

"Rest in peace, #RichardBelzer," one Feb. 19 Facebook post said. "Another vax death. ?"

This post was 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.)


It’s become common to see vaccine skeptics on social media baselessly blame celebrity deaths on the COVID-19 vaccines.

Featured Fact-check

Scheft did not immediately respond to PolitiFact’s questions about the post, but he told The Associated Press that Belzer had been dealing with circulatory and respiratory problems. 

After reviewing Belzer’s social media accounts and news reports, we found no evidence that he was vaccinated against COVID-19, much less that he died because of a COVID-19 vaccine.

If evidence emerges that Belzer’s death is connected to the vaccine, we’ll reconsider our ruling. 

For now, this claim is baseless and we rate it False.


Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

Evidence doesn’t support claim that Richard Belzer died because of COVID-19 vaccine

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up