Buffalo Bills supporters held a prayer vigil for Bills safety Damar Hamlin outside the Cincinnati hospital where he remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit


  • An Instagram post suggested the Pfizer vaccine may have contributed to Damar Hamlin's collapse
  • A non-profit group said mentions of an anti-vaccine film rose following Hamlin's collapse
  • A cardiologist said instances of COVID-19 vaccines causing heart problems are rare

Anti-vaccine social media users have exploited the news of the collapse of NFL player Damar Hamlin, blaming the COVID-19 vaccines for the Buffalo Bills safety's cardiac arrest.

Fact-checking website Politifact reported that an Instagram post has alleged that the Pfizer vaccine led Hamlin to collapse during the game.

"Damar Hamlin: Pfizer kills a Black man on live TV and then tells us that we're not supposed to talk about it," according to the post.

Charlie Kirk, a conservative activist and founder of Turning Point USA, has also echoed the anti-vaccine sentiment, saying, "Athletes dropping suddenly."

The London-based non-profit Center for Countering Digital Hate noticed that mentions of the anti-vaccine film "Died Suddenly" quadrupled after Hamlin's collapse, the BBC reported.

Dr. Michael Emery, a cardiologist and co-director of a sports cardiology center at Cleveland Clinic, blasted "wildly and irresponsible" speculations made by the vaccine skeptics.

"To be honest, it's way too early to speculate on a true cause of his cardiac arrest. There are a lot of theories, but you really can't make a diagnosis from a five-second video," Dr. Emery told Fortune.

"[Hamlin] will need and will get a lot of testing to hopefully reach a potential diagnosis. The [suggested] link between the COVID-19 vaccine [and cardiac arrest] is wildly and irresponsibly speculative from a very vocal minority."

Dr. Emery said instances of COVID-19 vaccines causing myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart, are rare.

The cardiologist explained that myocarditis could be caused by any viral infection.

Dr. Emery said COVID-19 could also cause heart problems, adding that people are more likely to get severe illnesses from the virus than from a vaccine.

A study made by the American Heart Association revealed that teen boys and young men have the highest risk of developing myocarditis following a COVID-19 vaccine booster, but cases are typically mild.

Hamlin's vaccination status against the coronavirus remains unknown, but the NFL announced in February last year that 95% of its players were already vaccinated.

On Monday, Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during his team's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Buffalo Bills said in a statement that Hamlin's heartbeat "was restored on the field" before he was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Dorrian Glenn, the player's uncle, told CNN that Hamlin was in critical condition after he was sedated and put on a ventilator in the intensive care unit.

Glenn also revealed that Hamlin was resuscitated twice.

Buffalo Bills players reacted to the on-field collapse of teammate Damar Hamlin during an NFL game Monday at Cincinnati