The Perfect Enemy | Fact check: Argentine boy starred in vaccine ad unrelated to COVID-19
December 3, 2022

Fact check: Argentine boy starred in vaccine ad unrelated to COVID-19

Fact check: Argentine boy starred in vaccine ad unrelated to COVID-19  USA TODAY

Read Time:3 Minute

The claim: Argentine boy who died at age 4 was part of a COVID-19 vaccination ad campaign

A post on social media links the death of a 4-year-old boy in Argentina to the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The face of children’s COVID vaccinations in Argentina dies at age 4,” reads the Nov. 14 Instagram post, which features a picture of a young boy.

“Posterboy for the coov fauxinations (sic) in Argentina suddenly dies at age 4 of pneumonia,” the post’s caption says. “I feel so bad for this little boy because the ‘Adults In The Room’ let him down and killed him to try and push an agenda.”

The implied connection between the boy’s death and the COVID-19 vaccine was echoed in comments and other iterations of this post

But the claim is wrong on both counts. The boy was part of an advertising campaign promoting vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella and polio – not COVID-19. And his death was from bilateral pneumonia, also not connected to COVID-19.

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USA TODAY was unable to contact the user who shared the post for comment.

Argentine vaccination campaign was unrelated to COVID-19 

The boy, named Santino Blanco, was featured in advertisements for a vaccination program run by the Argentine Ministry of Health. He was featured in several Instagram posts shared by the ministry between Sept. 29 and Oct. 13.

“Activate Vaccines!!” reads a translation of the Sept. 29 post’s caption. ️”National Campaign for Vaccination against measles, mumps, rubella and polio for girls and boys aged 13 months to 4 years old. From October 1 to November 13.” 

Neither the ministry’s Instagram posts about the program nor the program’s webpage mentions the COVID-19 vaccine. 

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Santino passed away on Nov. 3 from bilateral pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs, according to WebMD. His mother was previously told by doctors at the Dr. Raúl Larcade Medical Center that her son had the flu, gastroenterocolitis and laryngitis, and she is now denouncing the hospital for the care Santino received, according to local outlet La Nacion.

No reports have connected the boy’s death to the COVID-19 vaccine.

PolitiFact debunked this claim as well.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that an Argentine boy who died at age 4 was part of a COVID-19 vaccination ad campaign. The boy starred in an ad campaign promoting vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella and polio, not COVID-19. He died from bilateral pneumonia, which was not connected to COVID-19.

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