CNN recently reported that Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin had been discharged from a Buffalo, New York, medical center after spending more than a week hospitalized for a cardiac arrest he suffered during a Jan. 2 football game.
The headline said: “Damar Hamlin discharged after spending more than a week hospitalized due to a cardiac arrest.”
But an altered screenshot that’s circulating on social media appears to show a different headline: “Doctor of Damar Hamlin confirms cardiac arrest was due to the 4th booster vaccine.”
Instagram posts sharing this screenshot 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.)
The altered screenshot includes a photo of Hamlin, a byline that says “Aya Elamroussi and David Close, CNN,” and information about when the story was updated: 1:37 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Jan. 11.
The original CNN story, about Hamlin’s discharge from the medical center, has the same photo of Hamlin — taken before an Oct. 2 game — and the same bylines. It also says it was updated at 1:37 p.m. EST on Jan. 11.
A CNN spokesperson told The Associated Press that the headline in the screenshot was fabricated and that the network didn’t publish it.
We found nothing on CNN’s website connecting Hamlin’s cardiac arrest to the vaccine. Rather, on Jan. 13, the news outlet published an opinion piece by Jonathan Reiner calling on people to stop exploiting Hamlin’s health emergency “for the anti-vax agenda.”
The cause of Hamlin’s cardiac arrest has not been released and doctors are investigating what happened. Some experts who have reviewed the footage of his collapse speculated a blow to the left side of his chest may have caused his heart to stop.
There’s no evidence that a COVID-19 vaccine caused this to happen. We previously rated claims that the vaccine caused his collapse False. Claims that this is a real CNN headline merit the same ruling: False.