A grieving dad has blamed anti-vax propaganda videos on YouTube for the death of his pregnant daughter from Covid.
David Exley said there was an urgent need to do more to tackle dangerous misinformation after his daughter Sadie, 24, refused the jab after wrongly being told it ‘would kill’ her unborn child.
Mr Exley, an electrician from West Yorkshire, said: “I’m firmly of the belief that people should do what they believe in, whether that is to be vaccinated or unvaccinated.
“But people must make that choice based on facts. They should listen to experts, not base their decisions on posts on Facebook or videos on YouTube.”
The 57-year-old added: “Sadie had wanted the vaccine, we had discussed it. We were very, very close and open with each other,” he said.
“She said that as soon as she was eligible she would have the jab. But she fell pregnant and kept putting it off.
“Some people she knew didn’t believe in the vaccine, which is their right, but they shouldn’t have forced their beliefs on somebody else.
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“They told Sadie that if she had the vaccination she would kill the baby. It’s only for that reason that she didn’t get it.”
Sadie, who was also mother to two-year-old Harper, started suffering from migraines and chest pain in October.
She died in Leeds General Infirmary on December 3 after a brain haemorrhage caused by blood clots due to the virus.
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Miraculously, doctors were able to save her son, who was delivered by caesarean section at 29 weeks weighing just 2lbs 1oz.
Mr Exley said the boy – named Elliot – remains at the neonatal unit at St James’ Hospital in Leeds but is steadily putting on weight.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) published a report last year showing that 12 anti-vaccine ‘influencers’ were responsible for almost two-thirds of the dangerous content on social media.
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In September, YouTube said it would remove any content that spreads misinformation about approved vaccines, expanding a previous ban on false claims about Covid jabs, but scores are still available, including some posted before they announced the crackdown.
Imran Ahmed, chief executive of CCDH, said: “Tech giants like YouTube have consistently failed to act on dangerous misinformation about Covid and vaccines.
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“Promises to do better will ring hollow as long as they fail to act on key super-spreaders in the lucrative anti-vaxx industry and the dangerous disinformation they produce.”
YouTube last night said it had removed more than a million videos since February 2020.
A spokeswoman added: “We are saddened to learn of Sadie’s story and our hearts go out to her friends and family.”
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