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Their Babies Died. The Anti-Vaxx Movement Used Them

They contact 'parents who have lost children, giving them false information and false hope'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2019 2:45 PM CDT
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / andriano_cz)

(Newser) – As Catelin Clobes frantically spoke to a 911 dispatcher the morning of March 1, one thing she said was, "This can't be real. This is because she was sleeping with me." She had woken up to find her 6-month-old daughter, Evee, cold and unresponsive beside her in bed. The medical examiner ultimately ruled "positional asphyxia," or suffocation, as the infant's cause of death, with investigators noting her face had creases that could have come from a blanket; the way her blood had pooled in her nose, chest, arms, and legs indicated she had been face-down for some time. But Evee had just gotten a clean bill of health—and six vaccines—at a check-up 36 hours before her death, and the day after she died, a heartbreaking Facebook post by her grieving mother drew the attention of the anti-vaccination movement, Brandy Zadrozny and Aliza Nadi write for NBC News.

Some on her Facebook page suggested Clobes visit pages like Stop Mandatory Vaccination, founded by social media activist Larry Cook, and within a day, Clobes was blaming vaccinations for Evee's death. Evee has since become a face of the movement, her image even appearing on anti-vaccination billboards, and Clobes frequently shares stories of other parents whose babies died unexpectedly. The father of one such baby, 2-month-old Sophia Cooney, was shocked when he saw his daughter's death (he found her unresponsive on the couch with her sleeping mother, her head stuck between two cushions) being blamed on vaccines. "It's like someone was making a mockery of my precious little Sophie," he says. As the NBC piece explains, there's big money here: Cook and other anti-vaccination advocates like Del Bigtree, who share stories of babies like Evee and Sophia widely, rake in quite a bit. See the full article for more. (Read more Longform stories.)

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