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Family hit out at use of deceased young woman's image by anti-vaccination groups

The woman’s family have rejected attempts to use her death in an anti-vaccine campaign.


A WEXFORD WOMAN has called on anti-vaccination groups to stop using photographs of her recently deceased sister alongside false claims on social media.

Deb Cahill said the campaign means her sister Nicole Cahill, who died last March, is not being remembered as the “lovely bubbly person she was”. She said the situation has seen her parents called “murderers” because their daughter received the Covid-19 vaccine.

Nicole did not die due to having received a Covid-19 vaccine, said Deb.

However, in the days following Nicole’s sudden death, photos circulated online of the 22-year-old and her vaccine card, her sister told RTÉ’s Liveline today. 

“People were trying to say like ‘Oh no, another young life gone from the vaccine’, which wasn’t the case,” she told broadcaster Joe Duffy. She said her sister had some underlying illnesses. 

“It wasn’t really fair on the family because we were obviously still grieving, because it was still raw.”

An audibly upset Deb Cahill said her family had never been contacted “to see if it was the vaccine that killed Nicole”, and that many people who have posted about her do not know the Cahill family. 

“That’s what kind of hurts the most, all just because they’re not thinking of the family, and what they’re putting the family through by doing this,” she said.

The Cahill family have contacted a number of people who were posting about Nicole’s death, linking it to the Covid-19 vaccine, and while “most” apologised and removed the posts, others rejected the request said Deb.

As recently as this afternoon The Journal saw a post on Facebook claiming that Nicole had died due to the vaccine:

"You have people saying, 'you're murderers, you shouldn't have let her take this vaccine at all'," Deb Cahill said. 

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She said a complaint was made to gardaí and also to Twitter in relation to the posts. 

While this brought a reprieve for a period, the family were contacted last Friday about posts about Nicole's death appearing online again. 

"[T]hey're shared all over social media and it's not a nice thing to see even though it's nearly six months. It's still raw," said Deb.

She added: "Nicole should be remembered for the lovely person she was, but instead her face is splashed across social media in an anti-vaccine campaign."

Gardaí and Twitter have been contacted for comment. 

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