The sister of a woman who died in March has called on anti-vaccination campaigners to stop using her dead sister’s image and memory as part of their protest.
Nicole Cahill (22) from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford died on March 2nd in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. Her sister Debbie said shortly after Nicole's death images of her started to appear online suggesting that she died as a result of being vaccinated.
Ms Cahill said the family was certain that Nicole did not die due to the vaccine but as a result of her many underlying conditions which resulted in her being a priority for vaccination.
Ms Cahill said anti-vaccination campaigners trawled through death notice website rip.ie looking for young people who died and when they saw photographs of Nicole with her vaccination card, they presumed she had died as a result of vaccination.
“She had encephalitis as a child and went into a coma and later suffered a stroke. Her system was screwed from that and she had other underlying conditions. She was always in and out of hospital. She was in rehabilitation to learn how to be more independent,” she said.
The Wexford woman said the family was still grieving. “Calling the family murderers because we let her take the vaccine is doing a lot of damage to the family. They [the campaigners] don’t understand that she already had underlying conditions,” she told The Irish Times.
The family wanted Nicole to be remembered as a bubbly person who loved Westlife and Demi Lovato, not for the notoriety of being included in an anti-vaccination protest.
Ms Cahill said that the family had been particularly upset at the accusation that they had “covered up” Nicole’s death. She said she had appealed to anyone who shared the post on social media to take it down and a number of individuals who had shared it had done so. She urged the public not to share any further posts about her sister.
Ms Cahill, who also spoke on RTÉ’s Liveline on Tuesday, said she decided to highlight the matter in advance of an anti-vaccination rally scheduled for this week. She said she had not engaged with the campaigners and none of them had tried to contact the family in advance of using the image of her sister on social media.
She also asked Twitter to take down references to her sister but they told her that she would have to prove that she was a family member first.