Fact Check-Fabricated CNN headline reports Hamlin’s cardiac arrest caused by COVID-19 booster – Reuters

A fabricated CNN headline is circulating, claiming to cite one of NFL player Damar Hamlin’s doctors saying that the player’s on-field cardiac arrest was caused by a COVID-19 vaccine booster.

The CNN logo can be seen at the top left of the image, which is dated Jan. 11, 2023. The supposed headline reads: “Doctor of Damar Hamlin confirms Cardiac Arrest was due to the 4th Booster Vaccine.”

An image of Hamlin, who plays for the Buffalo Bills, can be seen across the bottom half of the screenshot, while the byline in the fabricated image attributes the article to two actual CNN journalists, Aya Elamroussi and David Close.

Examples of the screenshot shared online can be viewed (here), (here) and (here).

A CNN spokesperson told Reuters that no such headline was published and instead, the image was altered from an authentic CNN article published on Jan. 11 reporting on Hamlin’s discharge from the hospital that day, viewable (here).

The authentic headline reads: “Damar Hamlin discharged after spending more than a week hospitalized due to a cardiac arrest.”

The timestamp and date on the authentic article as well as the byline and the image of Hamlin match the fabricated screenshot, suggesting the authentic CNN article was altered to create the fabrication.

A search through CNN’s website did not reveal any article matching the fabricated screenshot or its headline (archive.is/wip/Dgnq6).

Archived versions of CNN’s homepage saved on Jan. 11 also do not reveal the headline (here), (here).

A Twitter advanced search did not reveal any social media post published via CNN’s official Twitter account claiming that Hamlin’s collapse was caused by a COVID-19 vaccine (archive.is/wip/62Ap8).

The Bills released a statement following Hamlin’s release that featured a quote from Dr. Jamie Nadler, chief quality officer at Kaleida Health and care team lead for Hamlin, that read: “”We have completed a series of tests and evaluations, and in consultation with the team physicians, we are confident that Damar can be safely discharged to continue his rehabilitation at home and with the Bills” (here).

The statement did not link Hamlin’s cardiac arrest to a COVID-19 vaccine.

A representative for Hamlin did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.


Altered. CNN did not publish a report of a doctor who treated Damar Hamlin saying that a COVID-19 booster caused his cardiac arrest. The fabricated headline and screenshot was altered, based on an authentic article published by CNN on Jan. 11 reporting on Hamlin’s discharge from the hospital.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.