Legendary guitarist Jeff Beck has died aged 78. A January 11 tweet from his Twitter account made it clear on behalf of his family that “after suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he passed away peacefully yesterday,” as seen here:
Note that this tweet from Beck’s account said absolutely nothing about Covid-19 vaccines. Still, it didn’t take too long for a bunch of anti-vaccination social media accounts to play the same old song. They began claiming that Covid-19 vaccines were somehow responsible for the unfortunate death of eight-time Grammy winner Beck. For example, someone posted a video on YouTube titled “Jeff Beck dies suddenly? Another vaccine victim of war? And searching social media for the “Jeff Beck vaccine” would yield a barrel of anti-vaccination slop as @Zimmsy suspected:
Some anti-vaccination narratives have even tried to suggest that bacterial meningitis was somehow caused by the Covid-19 vaccine when there is no real evidence linking the two, as mentioned by Brian Hiatt, senior writer for rolling stone:
Yeah, all of those claims were kind of like water in a whiskey bottle. They offered no proof, making claims without this little thing called proof. Instead, there was a lot of conspiracy theory talk and attempts to stir up suspicion. Talk about a progression of discord.
But it’s been a standard refrain seemingly whenever there’s news of someone dying from a sudden illness. Here’s how things generally go. Often, less than an hour after the news breaks, before any real details of the death even emerge, a cheerful group of anti-vaccination social media accounts will quickly spring into action blaming Covid-19 vaccines for one way or another. They did it with Betty White, Bob Saget, Coolio and Queen Elizabeth II. Looks like they’re now doing the same with Beck, who was twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in tribute to his illustrious career as a guitarist, once as a member of the Yardbirds in 1992 and once as a as solo artist in 2009.
I hate to tell everyone, but there are many things that can cause sudden and life-threatening illness in this world. That’s why medical textbooks are so thick. Heart attacks, strokes, burst aneurysms, and severe allergic reactions are just a few. Add to the list a panoply of infectious diseases including Covid-19. It is therefore absurd to suggest that every death from sudden illness is automatically due to Covid-19 vaccines. Also, dying of a sudden illness is nothing new. This has been happening for years and years, thousands and even millions of years before the Covid-19 vaccines hit the scene. In fact, sudden illnesses were even more common before vaccines and antibiotics controlled what were once some of the world’s deadliest infections.
Bacterial meningitis is one of those things that can happen quite suddenly and can kill quickly. Some may even die within hours. Those who survive may end up with a number of different permanent disabilities, such as brain damage or hearing loss. Meningitis is a general term for inflammation of the meninges. The meninges are the membranes that wrap around your brain like wrapping paper around a Whopper. Many things, including different germs, can cause meningitis.
Bacterial meningitis occurs when, not surprisingly, a bacterial infection causes this inflammation. Common bacterial causes include Streptococcus pneumonia, Group B Streptococcus, Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae, Listeria monocytogenes, and Escherichia coli. None of these bacteria are good to have in your brain. While some of these bacteria, such as E. coli and L. monocytogenescan be spread through food, the most common route is person-to-person contact through coughing, sneezing, or sharing saliva or spit.
You should consider meningitis if you have a fever, headache, and especially a stiff neck, assuming you’re not wearing a very thick, tight turtleneck sweater. Be even more suspicious if there is also a combination of the following: nausea, vomiting, your eyes are particularly sensitive to light, confusion, seizures or coma. Obviously, a coma is a very serious situation. You won’t hear a lot of people call you and say, “Hey, I’m in a coma right now, so I might be a little late for dinner.” »
If you suspect meningitis in any way, contact a doctor immediately. Do not wait. Don’t try to walk or sleep or just drink a bunch of kombucha. The key to survival and minimizing long-term disability is prompt diagnosis by looking for evidence of bacteria in blood or cerebrospinal fluid samples. Once the type of bacteria has been identified, doctors must quickly select and administer the appropriate antibiotic treatment.
Vaccines have something to do with meningitis, but not in the way that anti-vaccination narratives claim about Beck. Vaccines can protect against certain types of bacterial infections that can cause meningitis. Meningococcal vaccines can protect you against N.meningitidis. Pneumococcal vaccines can help prevent S. pneumoniae. Haemophilus influenzae serotype b (Hib) vaccines can help prevent Hib infections. These vaccines aren’t 100% effective, but can really reduce your risk of getting these types of meningitis.
Now, if any of your roommates or roommates develop meningitis from either N.meningitidis or Hib, don’t start licking all their goods. Instead, tell your doctor immediately. Your doctor may recommend that you take prophylactic antibiotics to protect yourself in case you catch the bacteria.
When news of Beck’s death spread, many musical legends offered their respects on social media such as Mick Jagger:
And Rod Stewart:
And Susanna Hoffs:
Unfortunately, at the same time, there have been far too many social media accounts offering the exact opposite: attempts to exploit Beck’s death in order to advance their anti-vaccination agendas. And may people really hit the wrong note and a wrong chord as Beck’s family, friends and fans mourn the death of this musical legend.