Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Movies

Shot Dead: A particularly disgusting piece of antivax propaganda

Here we go again with a new antivax propaganda film. Shot Dead is even more vile than pre-pandemic antivax films, full of antivax propaganda and exploitation of dead children.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about how a new study published recently is yet another compelling piece of evidence arguing that the antivax “died suddenly” conspiracy theory in which COVID-19 vaccines are supposedly causing a wave of sudden death among younger people is not a real thing. Basically, the study showed that sudden cardiac deaths among college athletes, contrary to what antivaxxers claim about such deaths among young people in general and athletes in particular, are not skyrocketing. Quite the contrary. They’re slowly declining, most likely because of better protocols for resuscitation, required screening of student athletes for the gene mutations and congenital heart anomalies that most frequently lead to sudden cardiac death, as well as the increased availability of automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Ironically, almost at the same time, a group called We The Patriots USA released a movie very much in the “died suddenly” vein, but of an older type than, for instance, Died Suddenly, the movie that pulled together all the conspiracy mongering about COVID-19 vaccines supposedly causing mass death. Never mind that several of the deaths shown happened before the pandemic. After all, what’s stretching the truth a bit among conspiracy theorists?

The movie is called, unsubtly enough, Shot Dead, because antivaxxers are nothing if not way too obvious. Almost against my better judgment, I watched it, mainly because it is only a little more than an hour in length and also because my curiosity got the better of me. What I found is…well, let’s just look at the blurb for the movie before I look at the movie itself:

This is the movie we wish we didn’t have to make. But this is a movie everyone needs to see. For the first time ever, hear the stories of covid shot deaths as told by the parents who lost their children. Shot Dead premiered on November 9, 2023 – the one-year anniversary of 18 year-old Trista Martin’s death from the shot, in her hometown of Tulsa (Trista is featured prominently in the film).

Hear from the families brave enough to speak up and admit that the shot killed their children. Hear from the ones who have refused to keep quiet. We all know that there are so many who have sold out to pharma, denying that their loved ones were hurt or killed by the shots. But there is no amount of money or threats that can keep these parents from speaking truth in honor of their children…and so this doesn’t happen to one more child.

This is the first film that focuses on the deeply personal aspect of the devastation unleashed by the shot and the mandates, as told by the families who lost loved ones. This film will make you cry. This film will make you think. And this film will prompt you to take action for children everywhere.

When I read this blurb, I thought that, given the subject matter, even if I don’t believe that COVID-19 vaccines killed these children, I could very well cry over this movie, because the very first scene makes it obvious that that’s what the filmmakers were going for. What I was certain of from the beginning was that there was no way this film would “make me think.” Again, it’s clearly not designed for that. Quite the opposite, in fact, it’s designed to play to the audience’s emotions and sympathy in order to soften their critical thinking abilities with respect to the claims made for the deadliness of COVID-19 vaccines.

The film is structured around three anecdotes, three children (actually one young woman and two children) whose deaths the parents believe to have been due to the COVID-19 vaccine. One isn’t even due to vaccination itself; the film attempts to blame the infant’s death on the mother’s having been vaccinated when she was pregnant. All of these anecdotes are designed to evoke maximal emotion and empathy, in order to shut down critical thinking preemptively.

Let’s look at the first scene, and you’ll see what I mean:

Trista Martin: Dying 112 days after being vaccinated, but she was “shot dead”

The pseudodocumentary opens with the mother of Trista Martin going through her deceased daughter’s bedroom, which is untouched since she died. Ms. Martin goes through Trista’s bucket list, reading from it and using it to show what a great young woman her daughter was, such as her daughter’s wanting to be a foster child and adopt a teenager because teens are adopted so much less frequently than much younger children. The date is her birthday, and we’re told by the parents that she would have been 19 today. The whole scene very much reminded me of a number of antivax pseudodocumentaries that I’ve had the misfortune of watching, in which the grieving parents are shown remembering their deceased child, with sad music playing, in order to evoke a response of extreme sadness. More importantly, such scenes are designed to induce the audience to feel empathy for the parents, so that the parents’ belief that vaccines killed their child comes across as much more believable. After all, how could you doubt their story? They’re suffering so much grief!

That is, of course, the idea behind such scenes, to which I like to respond simply that we’re not disbelieving the parents’ story or their pain. What we are doubting is their conclusion and steadfast belief that it was vaccines that killed their child. One can feel empathy for suffering parents and keep one’s critical thinking faculties sufficiently intact so as not to accept their claims at face value.

Before I go on, I note that the film was produced and directed by someone named Teryn Gregson, with whom I was unfamiliar. So I Googled and quickly found her X and Instagram feeds, as well as her website. Her website was most illuminated, as I was immediately greeted by this:

Teryn Gregson and Shot Dead
I guess we know where Ms. Gregson is coming from, don’t we?

Regular readers will immediately recognize old antivax tropes about aluminum adjuvants, MMR, HPV, and, because antivax and anti-fluoridation so frequently go hand-in-hand, anti-fluoridation nonsense. In particular, though, I was struck by the blurb of how Gregson is a former golf broadcaster who “who sacrificed it all for the Truth” and became “Faithful Freedom” because apparently she was fired from the PGA tour for refusing to accept the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant. Tellingly, Gregson labels this firing as “vaccine and religious discrimination,” and it supposedly led her into “home birth, home schooling, and backyard chickens.” Completely consistent with the antivax stance plus “wellness,” Gregson advertises a “holistic health” business called Azure Standard of Healthy & Abundant Living, because, I guess, no one wants unhealthy living that isn’t abundant. It appears to sell a mix of the unremarkable (organic foods and various cleaning products supposedly free of nasty chemicals) plus quack supplements and super special magic copper wire antennas for “grounding.”

I also recognized some of the people in the opening credits, in particular quacks like Dr. Peter McCullough—who is antivax to the core, a major promoter of the “turbo cancer” myth about COVID-19 vaccines, and totally on board with the “died suddenly” antivax conspiracy theory—and Dr. James Thorp, whom we’ve met before in Died Suddenly claiming that the vaccines are killing babies by causing miscarriages. Also during the opening credits, we’re treated to scenes of the parents discussing how their daughter was getting ready for college and had gotten the vaccine because of the messages she was getting, some of which are interspersed with the parents telling their story. Examples include Dr. Anthony Fauci defending the vaccines against charges that they had been developed too fast, young people saying they wanted the vaccine, shots from Jimmy Kimmel of doctors making fun of antivaxxers (one of whom says, “Grow the fuck up and get the vaccine”), and other messages about getting the vaccines to protect oneself and others, particularly loved ones.

At this point, my first thought was: Bring on the details! What happened to Trista that made her parents think that the vaccines had killed their daughter, as in “shot dead”? It must be really obviously bad. (Spoiler: It turns out not to be so clear at all.) After all they state baldly:

She listened to the BS. She listened to the “safe and effective.” And it killed her.

And then the title rolls:

Shot Dead
Antivaxxers are nothing if not predictable in the graphics they choose. I’m particularly amused because no one uses syringes that large or that look like that to inject vaccines. Most vaccines are in under 1 cc of buffer, and that looks like a 10 cc syringe at least.

This logo, of course, immediately reminded me of the logo for a certain other antivax pseudodocumentary:

Shot Dead vs. VAXXED
There always has to be a threatening-looking syringe in any antivax movie by any self-respecting antivax propagandist. Also what’s the blue stuff in the syringe? I am unaware of any blue, chalky looking vaccines. Most vaccines are in under 1 cc of buffer, and that looks like a 5 cc syringe at least.

You get the idea. Feature a syringe that is much larger than any syringe used to inject vaccines and make sure to make it as menacing as possible, with a needle far larger than what is used for any vaccine. Fill it with colored fluid, even though nearly all vaccines are clear. Use blocky letters, and be sure to include red prominently in your color scheme, preferably against a black background, so that it stands out all the more. As I said, very subtle these antivax filmmakers.

Indeed, the whole first segment of the movie reminded me of an image like this, from another antivax movie (The Greater Good), in which the family places flowers on the grave of the child they lost (due to vaccines):

The Greater Good vs. Shot Dead
Subtle, isn’t it?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about antivax movies, it’s that they always, always, always lean very heavily into exploiting legitimately grieving parents in order to soften up the audience and make them more likely to accept without question (or at least with less questioning) the parents’ belief that it was vaccines that killed their child, whether the actual story supports that conclusion or not. It’s very much like parents who took their children with cancer to cancer quack Stanislaw Burzynski, only to find out that Burzynski did not have any sort of miracle cure for their child’s cancer. However, if you look into the narratives in detail and find reasons why they don’t support the conclusions being sold in the documentary, you are easily portrayed as hard-hearted or, even worse, calling grieving parents who have suffered the worst loss imaginable liars, even when you bend over backwards not to do that. (Yes, I’ve been down this road before many times.)

Back to the Martins’ story about their daughter Trista. First of all, Trista did not die soon after being vaccinated. The parents describe how their daughter, having turned 18 and become legally an adult, wanted her own doctor and to be vaccinated. According to the parents’ telling, she got a “clean bill of health” based on physical exam an bloodwork done at a visit to her doctor. Apparently near the end of summer, she “started having some issues,” described by the parents as feeling lightheaded when she stood up (which sounds like postural hypotension), nausea after meals, as well as fatigue, in which she was described as sleeping a lot more than usual. Apparently she also started losing weight.

The parents then emphasize Trista had had no preexisting conditions, no comorbidities, and had been a pretty active young women. Naturally, it never occurs to them that something other than the vaccine could have caused the changes they had observed in her; it had to be the vaccine! Basically, there’s a lot of retrospective self-blame going on, in which the parents keep saying that they “didn’t know” all the horrible stuff supposedly caused by COVID-19 vaccines, which they learned afterward. They then stated that what must have been happening was cardiac damage from the vaccine. (They later mention that it was 112 days—nearly four months—from the day she got the shot to the day that she died.) But how do they know?

Cue—surprise! surprise!—Dr. Peter McCullough, disgraced cardiologist turned COVID-19 crank and antivax quack, who pontificates about how he’s witnessing a “tsunami” of cardiovascular issues in his practice. I note that this is the same guy who jumped on the vaccines as “depopulation” agenda very early and now hawks supplements that supposedly treat all the horrible things caused by the tiny amount of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein produced as a result of vaccination (but says very little about the massive amounts of spike protein produced during an actual case of COVID-19 infection. (Oh, and he’s also claiming that the vaccines cause “turbo cancer,” which is totally not a thing any more than “died suddenly” is.) Predictably, Dr. McCullough goes on and on and on about myocarditis due to the vaccine, which, recall, is generally mild and self-limited and only rarely severe. More interestingly, he does a rather obvious bait-and-switch, citing literature showing that infection with SARS-CoV-2 can cause myocarditis, acceleration of atherosclerosis, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications and then using that to imply that the vaccine causes all the same things. He gets around that by claiming that the risks from infection are time-limited while claiming that there is no time limitation of complications due to the vaccine.

In any event, according to the parents, Trista was spending the night with her older sister, when she woke up with breathing difficulties and whole-body aches. She went back to bed, but ten minutes later her sister checked on her and found her unresponsive, leading her to call her mother and then 911. The father relates how he was greeted at the hospital and brought right back to see her. Here’s where we learn where the parents got the idea that the COVID-19 vaccine killed their daughter, as apparently one of Trista’s friends told the parents that she had gotten the COVID-19 vaccine but hadn’t told them. I note that this conflicts a bit with the parents’ narrative earlier, in which they gave the impression that they had known. Be that as it may, you get the idea. Instantly, the parents thought it had to be the vaccine, and they still do. So what evidence is there that the vaccine had led to Trista’s cardiac arrest, rapid decline, and death? Also, let me just point again out how emotionally manipulative this film is, with the parents tearing up—very understandably—as they relate the story, to the point where you’d have to have a heart of stone not to have extreme empathy for them.

Enter Dr. McCullough again, who claims that an “unlucky child” will “lose their life” months after the vaccine because of “vaccine induced myocarditis and myocardial scar.” Does he present any evidence? Nope. Just listen to the pseudoexpert.

The parents also claim that, five months after their daughter’s death, the medical examiner still hasn’t completed the autopsy report, which, if true, is admittedly messed up. I can even see how such a failure would fuel the parents’ suspicion, as well as provide grist for conspiracy theories. In the meantime, I found a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses for Trista, her obituary, as well as their X/Twitter feed with rants like this:

I also learned that the film isn’t telling the whole truth in that when they filmed the scenes with the Martins they might not have had the autopsy report, but by July they did. They could easily have mentioned that:

Interesting. If there were indeed evidence of myocarditis or “myocardial scarring” from myocarditis, you just know that they would have trumpeted it all over social media as “proof” that the Pfizer vaccine killed their daughter.

In fairness, they did tack these images on at the end, which implies something hastily added to the film:

These are the sorts of findings that are often reported in the autopsies of patients who, although resuscitated from their cardiac arrest, end up dying due to an unsurvivable anoxic brain injury resulting from lack of blood flow to the brain for too long. The cerebral edema and other findings are due to the circulatory arrest which can cause ischemic damage (damage due to low blood flow) to many organs, including brain, heart, liver, and the GI system. I also note that, tellingly, there is no evidence of “cardiac scarring” or of myocarditis. No wonder the coroner called the cause of death “undetermined.” Again, these are all nonspecific findings after a cardiac arrest. Apparently even Dr. McCullough couldn’t spin this as being due to the vaccine, because you know he would have been featured doing so if he could.

As you might imagine, there is a scene at Trista’s gravesite, where the mother describes how they are trying to pay off the funeral expenses. Can I say again just how emotionally manipulative this film is? I feel for the Martins. I really do. But damn. Think about it. Here is a young woman who clearly didn’t support her parents’ antivax beliefs, to the point where she got vaccinated against COVID-19 without telling them. (Indeed, one wonders if she wanted her own doctor when she turned 18 so that she could get vaccinated without her parents knowing.) This film does extreme dishonor to her memory by using her story to support a narrative that she very likely did not support. That’s what antivax propagandists do, though.

“Shot Dead”: Ernesto Ramirez, Jr.

The second death is a teenage boy named Ernesto Ramirez, Jr., whose father relates the story of his son died suddenly five days after receiving the Pfizer vaccine. Notably, there is a lot less detail about what happened, and I immediately noted that only the father appeared on film and not the mother. Nor is she shown in any of the photographs that the filmmakers show of Ernesto and his father, who is later show discussing how he had never known is father and had sworn that the same would not happen with his son. Going back to the beginning, Mr. Ramirez does start by describing how the paramedics taking his son to the hospital wouldn’t let him get on the ambulance with him, even though he was the father. At the hospital, the doctors “worked on him a while,” after which, according to the father, a doctor came out and told him that his son was dead. He did not react well (which, again, I can understand) and by his telling threw the doctor against the wall, with a guard intervening. Later, we learn that, five days after getting the Pfizer vaccine, his son had gone to a friend’s house, whose mother took the boys to a park, where he collapsed getting out of the car.

A similar narrative occurs, as well, with Mr. Ramirez complaining that he had difficulty getting the autopsy report on his son. So he got an attorney, got the autopsy report, and, of course, gave it to Dr. McCullough to review. Unsurprisingly, Dr. McCullough is shown concluding that the cause of Ernesto’s death was vaccine-induced myocarditis and citing his vast knowledge of cardiac pathology (even though he is not a pathologist, much less a cardiac pathologist). Notably, he does not cite anything in the report that led him to conclude that other than that the heart was “swollen”—which, again, can happen just with cardiac arrest and CPR—instead saying that he “took a messenger RNA vaccine” that “installs the genetic code for the lethal Wuhan spike protein.” I swear, if I were taking Dr. McCullough’s role, I would not use such inflammatory language, which gives the game away, namely the extreme antivax bias, as well as the right wing conspiratorial bent (“Wuhan spike protein”), but, then, I’m not Dr. McCullough (fortunately) or a “faithful freedom” filmmaker.

Again, predictably, Dr. McCullough describes an sudden arrhythmic cardiac death, in which the heart goes into ventricular tachycardia, which degenerates into ventricular fibrillation, and then finally asystole (no electrical activity at all) and how, if electrical defibrillation isn’t promptly administered by the v-fib stage it’s “all over.” Again, as I’ve pointed out before, sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) has been a well-known phenomenon for decades, which is why sports physicals (and sometimes EKGs) are required before student athletes are allowed to compete and also why there has been a push over the last couple of decades to install automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public places. But to Dr. McCullough it’s all about the vaccine. It had to be the vaccine. In fairness, I will note that a five day interval between vaccination and SADS is more convincing than a 112-day interval, but, again, we have only Dr. McCullough’s word for the cause. Indeed, one wonders why the filmmakers and Dr. McCullough have not published the autopsy report. If I were Dr. McCullough and thought the report was such slam-dunk evidence for vaccine-induced myocarditis, you can be damned sure I would have asked the parents if I could post it to my website and let pathologists and cardiologists check my findings. Instead, Dr. McCullough goes on to rant about how there is a “multitude” of such cases (even though the study I wrote about yesterday and one that I wrote about a few months ago argue otherwise).

Surprisingly (to me), I managed to get a hold of a copy of the autopsy report, and I now know why Dr. McCullough didn’t say anything specific about it. Let me just quote the cause of death as determined by the pathologist, Dr. F. P. Salinas:

Ernesto Ramirez was not "shot dead."
How does Dr. McCullough explain the chronic scarring? It takes way longer than five days to develop scarring like this.

Notice something? There were areas of extensive acute and chronic scarring and fibrosis caused by a narrowed coronary artery. Note that chronic scarring does not occur in just five days. It takes a lot longer. (Five days is even a bit short for the acute scarring.) The bottom line is that, whatever caused Ernesto’s unfortunate demise, he had had some form of preexisting heart disease dating back to long before he was vaccinated. To me it sounds as though he most likely had a congenital anomalous coronary artery (ACA), a condition that is often not diagnosed until a person is a teen or an adult, because it often doesn’t cause symptoms before then, or only causes vague symptoms whose cause isn’t identified until later:

ACAs are present at birth. But they are usually not diagnosed until the late teen years or adulthood. This is because they don’t often cause symptoms.


Many people with an ACA don’t know they have it until a severe event happens. These can include chest pain, a heart attack, or sudden death.

Children with an ACA who are active or athletic may be at risk for sudden death. They may need to change their exercise routines. ACA is the second most common cause of sudden death in young athletes.

ACA may also increase the risk for early fatty buildup inside the arteries of the heart (coronary artery disease). This increases the risk for a heart attack.

Learn something new every day. I didn’t know that ACA was the second most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes.

Dr. McCullough, as a cardiologist, undoubtedly knows all this about ACA. If he doesn’t, he’s an incompetent cardiologist. He undoubtedly knows—or should know—that you don’t get chronic scarring in just five days, or anything close to it. The only conclusion that I can come to is that he must be lying by omission. He left out critical information from the autopsy report in order to spin a tale to the audience of Shot Dead that Ernesto was killed by a COVID-19 vaccine. Seriously, I could be more convincing an antivax “expert” than this, and I’m provaccine. He could have claimed less implausibly—although still pretty implausibly—that, while Ernesto did indeed have preexisting damage to his heart from chronic ischemia due to ACA, that damage was exacerbated by the vaccine, thus killing him. He didn’t do that because he couldn’t help himself. He just had to spin an antivax narrative in which the “lethal Wuhan spike protein” from the vaccine is killing perfectly healthy teenagers.

Meanwhile, we learn that Mr. Ramirez now has a trailer called JR’s Guardian Voice, dedicated to his son and the “vaccine injured” covered with photos of people claiming to be “vaccine injured.” It reminds me very much of the VAXXED bus from before the pandemic.

Shot Dead: Naomi Lainey White

The third anecdote is a newborn infant who only lived from January 15-16, 2023 named Naomi Lainey White. (In fact, as we learn later, she only lived for 11 hours after birth.) This piqued my interest, given that COVID-19 vaccines are not recommended at birth; rather, they are not recommended for infants younger than 6 months. Of course, the segments on baby Naomi start with a shot of a cemetery and a man who is later revealed to be Naomi’s grandfather pointing to his family plot and where he plans on buying Naomi’s ashes relative to his parents and grandparents. We also learn that her mother Tori had worked at a nursing home and was thus required to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which she got “just to keep my job.” It was during the first trimester of her pregnancy. She is shown describing how she had had a normal pregnancy before, but that she had immediately noticed something “different” about this one, but only after the vaccine (of course).

She then describes how she was induced at 39 weeks because, being in small town West Virginia, her OB had been concerned that he was going to be out of town and that, if she were to go into labor while he was gone, he might not be able to get back soon enough. One might argue that that’s not the greatest reason to be induced, but I can also see how, in areas where OBs are few and far between, such considerations might lead to such decisions. Be that as it may, apparently there was a prolonged bout of deceleration (low heart rate) during the labor, a sign of fetal distress, down to a heart rate in the 40s (very low) for 8 minutes (a long time). After Naomi was born, the mother noted that she just “kept turning purple,” which led the doctors to take her straight to the NICU, where she died several hours later.

Again, let me just point out how emotionally manipulative Shot Dead is. The mother is show crying as she described how the doctors rushed her newborn infant away and how she never got to hold her until the “pulled the plug.” We learn that the baby had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), in which the abdominal contents had gone through a weak spot in the diaphragm and collapsed one of Naomi’s lungs. Such hernias can cause a number of complications, the most prominent of which are underdeveloped lungs due to the compression (known as pulmonary hypoplasia).

Reading this, I was rather surprised that this hadn’t been diagnosed before birth on a prenatal ultrasound, which can usually show severe cases of CDH, although it’s sadly not that uncommon for CDH to be diagnosed after birth when an infant, taking her first breaths, develops respiratory distress and hypoxia (low blood oxygen content). Indeed, Dr. James Thorp, the pseudo expert previously featured in Died Suddenly, actually is correct to point out that if CDH is not diagnosed prenatally and the infant is delivered normally it’s a very high mortality situation. I also note that the incidence of CDH is around 1 in 3,600 according to the CDC, which also notes that half of all babies with CDH also have other congenital anomalies, “including birth defects of the brain, heart, and intestines.” (In the film, the grandmother says that she was told that it’s one in 2,500, and, of course, that the doctor also told her that he had only seen one in his entire 30 year career before the vaccines but had seen three in the last month.) So CDH is uncommon, but not rare, and it can certainly present this way, leading to a tragedy like this, especially in a hospital without high level NICU facilities and skilled pediatric surgeons.

But what about the COVID-19 vaccines?

Predictably, Dr. Thorp claims that it had to be the vaccine, because of course he does. After noting that the umbilical cord was small, as was the placenta, he goes on to answer “absolutely” yes to the question of whether there was a relationship between the vaccine and CDH (or other congenital malformations). What evidence does he cite? Not much. Basically it’s a lot of handwaving about how anything that can “cause inflammation” can cause congenital birth defects. He cites an investigator named Roberto Romero as the preeminent expert on inflammation and birth defects, going way beyond anything I could find on PubMed by saying that any substance that can cause inflammation during pregnancy is a “death knell” to the developing fetal organ systems. Perusing PubMed, I see that Romero has indeed published a lot, but that Dr. Thorp is being a bit misleading in that most of Romero’s publications relevant to inflammation leading to pregnancy complications are about chorioamnionitis, which is an acute inflammation of the membranes and chorion of the placenta, usually due to bacterial infection. It is indeed a condition with a high proclivity for causing fetal loss. Moreover, we have a lot of evidence that COVID-19 vaccines do not cause pregnancy and fertility problems or birth defects if vaccination occurs during the first trimester.

Dr. Thorp doesn’t help himself by making incredibly overblown claims, such as that spike protein is the “most inflammatory substance that has in my opinion ever occurred in the history of human beings.” (Oh, really? Endotoxin and LPS would like a word with Dr. Thorp.) He also makes ridiculous claims that the vaccine produces a “billion-fold” more spike protein than one suffers during SARS-CoV-2 infection and that the vaccine is the “deadliest medicine” ever rolled out. He even compared it to the RotaShield vaccine that was pulled from the market in 1999 after it had been found to increase the risk of intussusception, asking why that vaccine was pulled and the supposedly super deadly COVID-19 vaccine was not, even though “not a single baby” died from the intussusception. Maybe because Dr. Thorp is full of crap?

Nor does he help himself by making graphs of still birth rates and claiming that the rate went down in 2020 relative to 2018 when in fact the graph shows that it stayed the same or went up slightly, depending on the level of statistical significance. (Of course, who trusts Dr. Thorp to properly analyze evidence from external sources? Not me.) He then points out that the rates for 2021 and 2022 have not yet been reported, implying that they’ve been covered up. It never occurs to him that there is often a lag of a year or two (or more) to collate data from 50 states. The lack of government data doesn’t stop the filmmakers from superimposing claimed rates of stillbirths and miscarriages onto the same graph, even though it’s not the same data source, but rather the “data” reported by the same “whistleblower nurse” named Michelle Gershman featured in Died Suddenly, to show a supposed huge increase. (Truly, no crank “data” is ever not used in multiple conspiracy films. Seriously, it’s the same damned story, person, claims, and unverified “data,” along with a supposedly damning email admitting to it all, at least in Fresno, California, which is where her hospital is.)

The “coup de grâce” for this story occurs near the very end of the film where Dr. Thorp shows a snippet from Naomi’s autopsy report showing that the neonatal dose of hepatitis B vaccination had been administered, thus linking new antivax narratives with old ones, with Dr. Thorp calling it “adding insult to injury” and asking why anyone would give this vaccine to newborn infants given that babies “aren’t sexually active.” Argh! I will admit that this could seem strange, but I also note that probably the nurses didn’t yet know that Naomi would not survive. Of course, Ms. Gershman then pipes in that these vaccines have formaldehyde and fetal tissue in them, old antivax claims for which the best response is:

Godzilla facepalm
I couldn’t resist using this one for Shot Dead, given that the first episode of the Apple TV+ series Monarch: A Legacy of Monsters dropped today and that Godzilla Minus One will be coming out in a couple of weeks. Yeah, I like kaiju movies.

The “evidence” vs conspiracy

Interspersed throughout the anecdotes are clips of pseudoexperts. Obviously, Dr. McCullough and Dr. Thorp feature prominently, but that doesn’t mean that the filmmakers neglected other antivax liars. For instance, one is shown misleadingly citing “excess mortality” as being due to the vaccine, even though it is clear that the waves of excess mortality correspond much more closely with COVID-19 waves than they do with vaccination campaigns. (I’m looking at you, Edward Dowd, former investment advisor at Blackrock who thinks he is now an epidemiologist.)

Much of the rest of the film is a rehash of a number of antivax conspiracy theories that have proliferated, including claims that the vaccines were such a cash cow that evidence showing how supposedly dangerous they are was suppressed, claims that it was all about the money, citations of cherry picked evidence, alternating between clips of pseudoexperts like Dr. McCullough citing a “tsunami of misery” that has been “crushing in terms of human despair” and the three grieving families, the latter of which claim that Pfizer “murdered” their children. Dr. McCullough also not incorrectly notes that even rare side effects will show up in large numbers when billions of people receive an intervention, something I point out from time to time myself, but he focuses like the proverbial laser beam on very rare vaccine side effects, even if he has to make up side effects to make them scarier, and ignores the much more common horrific side effects of the disease prevented by the vaccine. I particularly like how Dr. McCullough claims to have come up with “treatments” that have helped hundreds of millions of the “vaccine-injured,” noting that his “treatments” include quack treatments like nattokinase. For his part, Dr. Thorp invokes naturopathic treatments, and naturopathy is quackery, claiming without evidence that vitamins D and C, as well as melatonin and supersaturated iodine, as preventatives for COVID-19 and treatments for “vaccine injury.” Oh, and don’t smoke or drink alcohol. Also, they point out how much people have come to be suspicious of the vaccines, failing to note how much antivax misinformation has contributed to such vaccine hesitancy.

Tribute to dead children
I couldn’t help but think that all the mini-hot air balloons being released at the end of the film in memory of dead children look like a forest fire waiting to start when they fall to earth. How can this be legal?

The bottom line is that Shot Dead is very much of a piece with the long line of antivax propaganda films that I’ve described before. It uses a handful of sad anecdotes that are falsely represented as evidence that the vaccine targeted by the film can cause great harm and intersperses them with fake experts spewing nonsense and conspiracy theories, supporting them with anecdotes, cherry picked data, and misrepresented studies. In this, it joins a long line of such pseudodocumentaries that include The Greater Good, VAXXED, Sacrificial Virgins, and many others. (It even features Dr. McCullough claiming that the CDC and FDA have turned a “blind eye” to the safety of the childhood vaccine schedule, not just COVID-19 vaccines.) The only difference is that it is even more vile in its emotional manipulation and Gish galloping of misinformation than average and even more blatant about its exploitation of dead children and their grieving parents.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

47 replies on “Shot Dead: A particularly disgusting piece of antivax propaganda”

The parents also claim that, five months after their daughter’s death, the medical examiner still “hasn’t completed the autopsy report, which, if true, is admittedly messed up.”

Unfortunately, many ME’s are underfunded and understaffed. I don’t think that delays like this are uncommon. It’s as simple as that.

You’re probably correct, and I should have said that in the post…

Also, the report did finally come out. Had I been the filmmaker, I would have added the text above about what the autopsy showed right after the parents complained about not having the report, with a voiceover saying that eight months after the death the report FINALLY came out and this is what it showed. Shame I’m a better documentarian than they are, and I’ve never directed a documentary—or anything other than my home videos of puppies that we’ve fostered.

I should have added that a diagnosis of indeterminate or no anatomic correlate of death is not uncommon. There are many things, many of which are metabolic, that cannot be diagnosed postmortem, especially since many of the things that we routinely test for during life, like electrolytes, are so messed up postmortem that we don’t even bother, and genetic testing is almost universally not done as part of an autopsy.

I should also note that dissection of the cardiac conduction system is a highly specialized procedure that most pathologists cannot do, so anomalies there would most likely be overlooked.

A. I was thinking about The Greater Good as soon as you mentioned the three cases surrounded by anti-vaccine speakers. They skipped the step of having a token pro-vaccine commenter to counter, though. And as you point out, these stories are very, very weak.

B. We The Patriots is an organization that has brought several legal challenges to vaccine mandates, including one to Connecticut’s repeal of its religious exemption, that ended up rejected (they have another one in the works now), and at least one in New York. They seem to have money to litigate and hire famous (if controversial) lawyers, like Norm Pattis who previously represented Alex Jones.

C. Apparently, Mr. Ramirez raised his son alone. At least, according to some online sources. E.g.:

We The Patriots is an organization that has brought several legal challenges to vaccine mandates, including one to Connecticut’s repeal of its religious exemption, that ended up rejected (they have another one in the works now), and at least one in New York

The claim on their website that they will fight for people to get back their religious liberties, so no surprise about the Connecticut suit.

Also, both founders claim to have children who were “injured by vaccines”:

Dawn Jolly claims her son was injured by a vaccine shortly after his birth in 2003, and that she was injured by vaccines while she was in the military:

Dawn also experienced vaccine injury personally while in the service, being forced to receive two rounds of all of her required shots (including anthrax) after her medical records were “lost.”

As for the other founder:

Brian is a father of two who first became involved in health freedom activism and legal work several years ago, after his son was seriously injured by a flu shot.

The org seems to be another right-wing group with the hope of taking the country back about 70 years.

Wee The Paid Idiots is best known for their annual “vaccine safety awareness marathon” which is 12-24 hours of continual propaganda to raise money (I guess someone didn’t get the news that telethons are out of style). A lot of their past marathons are online. The 1am-4am speakers make George Noory’s speakers At Coast ot Coast look intelligent.

The supposed empathy with bereaved parents that the film makers boast about is strangely limited. As quoted from the blurb:

“We all know that there are so many who have sold out to pharma, denying that their loved ones were hurt or killed by the shots.”

Antivaxers viciously attacking grief-stricken parents and other relatives as pharma shills shows so much empathy and class.

Remember these creeps think that when a mother murders her child, there’s a vaccine to blame somewhere.

(and remember that creepy antivaxxer from the pre-Covid days who thought that children dying in agony was funny? I don’t know if you have to hate children to be an antivaxxer – but it sure seems to help)

Good read. There are a few spelling mistakes that you might want to fix. Is it CHD or CDH? It should be CDH (congenital diaphragmatic hernia), right? Half of the time you write CHD. (Congenital heart disease). There is at least one other error.


blockquote>Dr. McCullough, as a cardiologist. . . knows—or should know—that you don’t get chronic scarring in just five days, or anything close to it.

You seem to forget how very powerful the polluting, changes-your-DNA vaccine is. It can go back in time to affect you or, worse, cause “turbo chronic problems” that only appear to be the real ones.There’s no harm or damage that it cannot mimic or cause. Fortunately there are the true geniuses like McCullough that can suss that out.

“Hear from the families brave enough to speak up and admit that the shot killed their children.”

Hear from the families who BLAME the shot….

“Hear from the families brave enough to speak up and admit that the shot killed their children.”

Admit? That would be for a vaccine maker to do. The word they’re looking for is BLAME. Something terrible has happened in their lives, and blame needs to be assigned to help them manage their grief. Is blame correctly assigned, or is the event just bad luck (genetic, congenital, etc.)? These people really don’t understand language.

“Also, they point out how much people have come to be suspicious of the vaccines, failing to note how much antivax misinformation has contributed to such vaccine hesitancy.”

Echoes of Cheney saying that people seem to think Iraq has nuclear material. Now why on earth would they think that, Dick?

Thank you for enduring the entire hour of this propaganda, which I couldn’t do once I realized what thin gruel Gregson cooked. And thank you for finding the coroner reports, which completely shred any foundation this fraudumentary might have had.

Orac is totally right that emotions are NOT evidence. He is 100% right!

I understand Teryn Gregson and how the movie came out to be what it is. Teryn, a pregnant mother, refused the unproven Covid vaccine that was obviously not even preventing transmission of Covid. She did it to protect herself and her unborn baby, a smart decision.

For the crime of trying to protect her baby, Teryn was fired from her job by the promoters of the COVID vaccines.

This made her obviously disappointed, and she joined a vendetta against the Covid vaccine.

She decided to film a movie and found a few people willing to be interviewed. Finding such people is never easy: I know a family whose son died from the safe and effective J&J Covid vaccine. Guess what, they do not want to talk about his death. So, yes, Teryn’s interviewees may not necessarily be the best-fit for her purpose – but these are the people she found.

In any case, Teryn turned out to have film-making talent and her emotionally charged movie is going viral across the Internet.

Emotions are not confined to the antivax movement, of course.

Covid vaccines were promoted using emotions also, such as fear, hatred of unvaccinated people, and cheap flattery such as “you are so smart because you trust science” (this cheap flattery seriously alarmed me, a long-time science fan, in 2021).

In any case, Teryn is now a mother on a warpath, and she is unstoppable.

You are including more and more wild bullshit (‘unproven Covid vaccine that was obviously not even preventing transmission of Covid. She did it to protect herself and her unborn baby, a smart decision.’, ‘I know a family whose son died from the safe and effective J&J Covid vaccine.’, ‘Covid vaccines were promoted using emotions also, such as fear, hatred of unvaccinated people’) in your posts — you’re really becoming unhinged. The fact that
– not even preventing transmission isn’t true
– You don’t know anyone who died from the vaccine — you with that because it fits your narrative: trying to use the death of someone to boost your readership is vile: you should be ashamed, but I have a feeling you’ve long lost the ability to feel shame
– the “fear and hatred of unvaccinated people” are simply brain fever spewings from a sick mind

Don’t ever try to claim you love science: you have no idea what qualifies as science — or reality, it seems.

“I know a family whose son died from the safe and effective J&J Covid vaccine. Guess what, they do not want to talk about his death.”

If this family exists outside Igor’s imagination, perhaps the reason they don’t want to talk to antivaxers about his death* is they don’t want their family tragedy exploited by antivaxers pushing a false narrative.

According to “We The Patriots”, who produced this BM of a film, such parents are pharma stooges.

*this could illustrate the hazards of knowing Igor. AntiVaxer Proximity Syndrome (AVPS) has been responsible for countless deaths among those unfortunate enough to be friends and relatives of antivaxers, or even casual acquaintances twice removed.

A big reason why I am an anti-Covid-vaxer is that specific incident. I know that family and went to a few parties where they were present, but I am not friends with them and the loss was not personal to me – but it was something that happened close and influenced me.

Yes, the family probably does not want the publicity – last I knew is they did not want to talk and I do not want to create enemies in my circles. Which is fine.

I do not prozelytize to friends or not-super-close relatives.

Was it the one where someone dropped dead shorty after getting vaccinated, or the one where the person died several months later?
Either way, your claim that in each the COVID-19 vaccine HAD to be responsible was very weak tea, and that is putting it lightly.

“I know that family and went to a few parties where they were present”

AntiVaxer Proximity Syndrome (AVPS) strikes again.

Avoid even the most casual contact with antivaxers, if you value your life!

And if an anti-vaxxer gets covid after having been in contact with a vaccinated person, it’s the vaccinated person that is to blame and who magically has given the unvaccinated person covid.

Sorry about the repetitive diagnosis, but I was running short of $$ for the holidays and figured the best way to raise dough was through the AVPS ICD-10 code, like all those docs and hospitals who made Covid-19 diagnoses purely for money.

Interesting thing is that you pick a case where an hyalternative explanation is quite clear. This is probably reason why it is difficult to find parents who claim vaccines.

Strange how no one died before the covid vaccine.

Those were the days though, no one died from accidents or misfortune. Children were healthy until they grew up into healthy adults. Heart problems never happened. Young athletes never dropped dead from injuries because there were no vaccines to injure them. Heart attacks didn’t happen, healthy people didn’t succumb to disease, the flu was no worse than a small cold and since people didn’t have other illnesses to complicate matters, no one who caught one of those nonexistent little colds and then got sick with something else worse.

And then those evil doctors and scientists and rich people had to make the covid vaccine and only then did people start to die.


Clearly the Bill Gates hopped in his time machine and gave him the jab when no one was paying attention.

My dad “died suddenly” in 2014, and he had not had any vaccines for a long while before that.

He had a heart attack while waiting for a routine checkup in the doctor’s room. There were no symptoms until he died. After, on autopsy, the doctors could see issues.

I suppose it’s another stealth ninja-timemachine-traveling-sloth with a needle occasion.

My father usually got a flu vaccine in September but didn’t in 2001 and died that month so perhaps I could blame ‘no vaccine’ or else it might have been due to 9/11 via some arcane plot.

No, it was actually VT they couldn’t fix.

Gregson is a grifter (she has a store of quackery on her website) and a useful idiot for the likes of Bigtree and RFKjr.

You wouldn’t know science if it knocked on your door with a box of chocolates.

Orac has mentioned cases before where a child was killed by a vaccine that broke their ribs and left hand-shaped bruises on their body – and not only did the child die, the parents were convicted of murder. Some would say that the parents’ admission that they had hit the infant several times shortly before the death is evidence that the vaccine was not responsible – but that’s just emotional nonsense right?

I found the comparison to the situation with the RotaShield vaccine truly fascinating.

In August of 1998, the RotaShield infant vaccine for rotavirus was licensed in the United States. Routine monitoring of VAERS by the CDC revealed anomalous reports of intussusception among a number of recipients of the vaccine. The CDC responded with a multi-agency investigation including the FDA and multiple state and local health agencies. They found a statistically highly significant increase in cases of intussusception within two weeks of administration of the vaccine. It was proportionally a massive increase in risk, but in absolute terms, the risk was still quite small – 1 to 2 additional cases per 10,000 patients. Intussusception is a serious and potentially deadly condition, but is highly treatable and there were no known deaths. Still, with the risk clearly established, a year after the vaccine was licensed, ACIP withdrew its recommendation for the vaccine and the manufacturer voluntarily withdrew it from the market.

Doesn’t this completely contradict the standard anti-vax narrative about how this all works, in every detail?

It really makes me wonder: why does Dr. Thorp think that government health authorities (and Big Pharma) were so responsive to danger signals in that case? He not only knows of but points to a case where the CDC quickly detected vaccine injuries, mobilized multiple agencies to study them, published adverse findings, and the official recommendations for the vaccine were promptly rescinded and Big Pharma promptly removed it from the market. Exactly what he, and other anti-vaxers, claim is not happening with COVID vaccines. How does he resolve the cognitive dissonance?

DIdja notice that “Rotashield” and “Rothschild” have the same number of letters and sound alike, kinda sorta?

It’s no accident.

1.There are other examples of vaccines being investigated/ removed because of extremely rare events usually in particular populations:
–H1N1 vaccines were associated with the onset of narcolepsy – as was the virus itself- because they interfered with a protein related to wakefulness especially in people with a particular haplogroup that is very rare in Canada but much less rare in Northern Europe.
–AZ and J&J Covid vaccines were associated with a rare type of blood clot, TTS, especially in certain age groups. The latter was first restricted then made unavailable.
— Covid vaccines were associated with myocarditis- as was Covid infection- in particular groups of people. Warnings were issued.
If you look closely into Covid vaccines, you will see very small numbers of these events ( anti-vaxxers claim incredible research skills so I won’t bother citing numbers).

Anyone can cite anecdotes but they don’t hold up as a general rule.
I had all three versions of the vaccines: J&J 2021; 2 Pfizer, 2022; Moderna 2022 and 2023. Nothing happened.
I also know many people who had no problems.
BUT that’s not research! 100 anecdotes do not a study make. Or even 1000.

Anti-vaxxers seem to think that posting stories, surveys, photos and videos will turn their anecdotes into research. It doesn’t: they are merely collections self-selected by people with a certain point to prove. HOWEVER material like this is easy to make emotional so viewers will react.
Anti-vax films are rife with foreboding soundtracks and frightening images as well as stories that inspire sympathy or fear.

Putting on my tinfoil hat.

That vaccine was deliberately released to cause harm and then be withdrawn so that big parma (they’re the ones putting microchips in the cheese, right?) could have an incident to point to where they seemed to do the right thing.

Of course (I say as I add bust out a fresh role of foil to add another layer to my hat), the real reason the vaccine was no longer recommended is because intussusception was too easily recognized and treated and not enough babies were being killed by the vaccine.

Okay, I’ll admit, I had to get my troll on to reply to you and comment on your avatar! That cartoon was so weird, discussions of it derailing many a gaming session I was part of.

By sticking his fingers in his ears and shouting “la, la, la” until the mean old facts go away. Just like all the rest of the antivaxxers do.

Yes, it does.

So does the immediate pause on discovering the problem with clots for J&J vaccines and the later change in recommendation for that vaccine that led to it being taken from the market.

And the immediate discussion of potential allergic reactions to the vaccines.

and the front page discussions of myocarditis and any other thing that may have evidence.

To claim a conspiracy of silence, anti-vaccine activists need to deny all that. They don’t seem to have a problem with the dissonance, though. I agree with you that it’s puzzling. You’re right.

The reason why they scapegoated the J&J vaccine was to make themselves look good and promote mRNA vaccines. They stalled Novavax for ther same reason.

None of the above mentioned “vaccines” are any good, of course

A. The reference to the mysterious “they” that apparently are targeting some vaccines and not others.

I suppose the “they” are the many different members of different agencies, and their independent advisory committees, which apparently are all working as one for the benefit of the mRNA vaccine because reasons.

No evidence for any of it, of course.

B. Note the blanket dismissal of all the vaccines, again, without evidence.

This is an argument based on a (not realistic) conspiracy-theory, not evidence.

So, why did “they” target RotaShield in 1998?

And why is Johnson & Johnson going along with this plan to knock their vaccine out of the market and concede it to their competitors?

Perhaps J&J vaccine is actually a bit more dangerous, it is a vector vaccine, Novavax was stalled because manufacturing problems.
I noticed all Big Pharma do not have same clout. Why the difference?

I believe it’s because big parma is, to certain people, a singular monolithic entity. The hydra may have many heads, but they all connect to the same body in their logic. The J&J vaccine took the fall to benefit the rest of the singular organization, a chance to present the rest of its product as being safe by being able to go ‘look, we got rid of the bad one, therefore the rest of what we are presenting to you is safe’.

It’s the same way every single medical professional and person tangentially related to associated business and industry are all willing to act against their own interests. It’s because they are part of the big parma hivemind and will gladly suffer and die as well as letting their loved ones suffer and die to benefit the entity.

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