Fact Check-Brazilian anchor says his fainting on air was not caused by booster

Claims that Brazilian anchor Rafael Silva collapsed during a live transmission because he had received a COVID-19 booster shot are inaccurate, according to Silva himself. It is true that he received his third dose of the vaccine days earlier, but according to TV channel Alterosa and Silva himself, his diagnosis was not related to the vaccine.

Silva posted a photo on Facebook saying he had received a booster dose on Dec. 28, 2021 ( here ). Silva suddenly collapsed during his participation in the program “Alterosa Alerta” on Jan. 3 ( here ).

The moment, which was captured live, has since been shared by some social media users who blamed his recent COVID-19 vaccination.

“Brazilian reporter Rafael Silva collapses on live TV after bragging about getting his third CCP booster shot, then suffers five heart attacks on the way to the hospital. Silva is 36 years old, healthy, with no known prior medical conditions,” reads an iteration on Twitter viewed over 127,000 times as of the writing of this article ( here ). Other examples are viewable ( here ), ( here ).

Conspiracy theory website Infowars also published an article referring to the incident without providing any further context ( here ).

On Jan. 4, a day after the incident, journalist and fellow anchor at TV Alterosa Kadu Lopes addressed the allegations that circulated on social media about Silva and his third COVID-19 vaccine, calling them “fake news.” ( here )

“We bring you the news that according to experts from our region, they have already ruled out this was issue of the third dose,” Lopes said and added that the doctor treating Silva suspected he had “a congenital heart disease.”

On Jan. 14, Silva took to Instagram and Facebook to inform about his diagnosis of mitral annular disjunction (MAD) ( here ), ( here ).

“After almost two weeks of recovery, a lot has happened, the main thing being that I discovered a mitral annular disjunction in the heart, which is a small malformation in the muscle. So now I have an automatic defibrillator implanted to prevent my heart from giving me new scares. Soon we will be together again,” Silva wrote.

A mitral annular disjunction (MAD) is a “structural abnormality” in the heart, in the mitral annulus, which is defined as “a separation between the atrial wall-mitral valve (MV) junction and the left ventricular attachment allowing for hypermobility of the MV apparatus.” It is associated to mitral valve prolapse (MVP) which in serious cases can lead to a heart attack or stroke ( here ), ( here , here ).

Silva appeared on the show via a videocall on Jan. 17 to talk about his recovery and mentioned he had various cardiac arrests that day, before arriving at the hospital ( here ).


Missing context. Brazilian anchor Rafael Silva had received a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine a few days before fainting during a live broadcast. His TV channel has said the incident was not related to the vaccine, however, according to Silva’s doctors and Silva himself, who said it was caused by a newly diagnosed malformation in his heart.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.