CBS News: 4-year-old dies from flu after members of anti-vax Facebook group advise his mom to use thyme and elderberries instead of Tamiflu


The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
Facebook allows the group to exist.

Facebook groups that routinely traffic in anti-vaccination propaganda have become a resource for people seeking out a wide variety of medical information — including about the ongoing flu season.
Facebook hosts a vast network of groups that trade in false health information. On “Stop Mandatory Vaccination,” one of the largest known health misinformation groups with more than 178,000 members, people have solicited advice for how to deal with the flu. Members of the group have previously spread conspiracies that outbreaks of preventable diseases are “hoaxes” perpetrated by the government, and use the groups to mass-contact parents whose children have died and suggest without evidence that vaccines may be to blame.

One recent post came from the mother of a 4-year-old Colorado boy who died from the flu this week. In it, she consulted group members while noting that she had declined to fill a prescription written by a doctor.
The child had not been diagnosed yet, but he was running a fever and had a seizure, the mother wrote. She added that two of her four children had been diagnosed with the flu and that the doctor had prescribed the antiviral Tamiflu for everyone in the household.
“The doc prescribed tamiflu I did not pick it up,” she wrote.
Tamiflu is the most common antiviral medication prescribed to treat the flu. The drug can ease symptoms and shorten the length of illness, but concerns about side effects are common even outside anti-vaccination echo chambers. The flu has hit children particularly hard this season. Pediatric hospitalization rates are higher than normal, and 68 children have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement: “This is a tragedy and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. We don’t want vaccine misinformation on Facebook, which is why we’re working hard to reduce it everywhere on the platform, including in private groups.”

This week, the state of Colorado suffered its second pediatric flu death of the season. The first, in January, was a school-aged child outside the Denver metro area. The second, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, was a 4-year-old boy from Pueblo.
Now, just days after his death, questions are swirling about whether more could have been done to save him amid reports that his mother followed misguided advice from members of an online anti-vaccine group.
Four-year-old Najee's mother told CBS affiliate KKTV that her son was a vibrant boy who always made people laugh.
In early February, two of Najee's brothers tested positive for influenza. And according to a GoFundMe set up by the family, Najee's mother took his 10-month-old brother to the emergency room with a fever of 104 degrees. Upon their return home, she gave the boys baths and sent 4-year-old Najee and his 5-year-old brother to their room to put on pajamas.
Minutes later, the 5-year-old came out and told his mother that "Junior," as Najee's family affectionately called him, was asleep. His mother then discovered him lying on the floor, pale, where he had apparently suffered a febrile seizure as a result of a flu-related fever.
She called 911 and started CPR. Najee was eventually airlifted to a hospital in Colorado Springs. According to the family's GoFundMe, Najee was taken off life support on Wednesday.
Now, screenshots from an anti-vax Facebook group called "Stop Mandatory Vaccination" are circulating online, and they appear to show that the week before Najee died, his mother sought advice on how to treat her sons' illness. Members of the group advised giving the boys vitamins, botanicals, and fruits and vegetables rather than the Tamiflu that their doctor prescribed.
In the thread, which has now apparently been scrubbed from the group's Facebook page, the mom wrote, "The doc prescribed tamaflu [sic] I did not pick it up." One user advises, "You're better off taking Vitamin D and C, Elderberry, Zinc, and eating lots of fruits and vegetables."
"Ok perfect I'll try that," she responds.
Later in the conversation, which can still be viewed in screenshots published by the Colorado Times Recorder, the panicked mother notes that she has been using the elderberry, peppermint oil and Vitamin C that the group members recommended, but her sons' fevers are still not breaking.
"Any other tips I'm terrified for another seizure," she writes. "Please no hard comments I am a momma freaking out all alone in this with a family who believes in none natural ways so I'm going through alone and they are making me feel bad for not putting him on Tamiflu."
"Boil thyme on the stove," a group member chimes in. "Vit C until diarrhea."
The group, which has more than 178,000 members and 10,000 posts in the last 30 days alone, is run by a self-proclaimed "advocate for natural living" named Larry Cook, whose website slogan is, "Vaccines don't save lives, healthy immune systems do!"
The family did not want to comment to KKTV about whether Najee had gotten a flu shot, but the mother mentioned in the Facebook exchange that two of her other sick children had not. Research has shown that most children who die from the flu had not been vaccinated.
After news of Najee's death broke, Cook took to his Facebook group to put the blame on Children's Hospital Colorado Springs for the tragic outcome.
"Mom says they were treated poorly by the hospital, and of course, never offered any real treatments that would have likely cured her boy," he wrote.
"EXACTLY!!" one of the group's members responded. "You just have to nourish the body which hospitals do not do. They just poison."
The question rippling through social media today, however, is whether the true poison in this case was the misguided advice offered to a very sick boy's mother.
"I'm hurting so bad right now and so is his dad and brothers," Najee's mother told KKTV 11 News on Thursday. "Our whole family is hurting and it feels like we failed him because we did what we had to do."


The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
"I'm hurting so bad right now and so is his dad and brothers," Najee's mother told KKTV 11 News on Thursday. "Our whole family is hurting and it feels like we failed him because we did what we had to do."
You KILLED him you dumbass piece of garbage, and no, there was no "had to do" it either


Nov 7, 2017
Thyme and elderberries? What decade are these people living in? These poor kids have no say in their parents idiotic behavior and it's costing them their lives.


Oct 25, 2017
What the fuck it's not even a vaccine. Have they graduated to anti-medicine?


Nov 2, 2017
Blackpool, UK
RIP to the poor little victim of this abuse. Just fucking despicable. Every single cunt in that group who recommended a tasty herb instead of actual medicine has blood on their hands.
I just can't have sympathy for the "mother" who chose to listen to a bunch of morons. She lost her son, but she played a HUGE part in that death. She'll suffer for it, and that's the very least she should have to deal with.
Fever and a fucking seizure and they told her to use herbs and veggies...pieces of garbage helped kill that boy.


Oct 25, 2017
Anti-vaxxers should be given the death penalty, jesus fucking christ. A literal cult of murderers that just get away with it.


Dec 17, 2017
Send her to prison for murder. Stupidity is no excuse. Her kids are better of without her.


Oct 27, 2017
"Don't take prescribed medication to treat the illness. Just throw some potatoes in his socks. It will do the trick."

Like, wtf. Poor child.
Feb 1, 2018
Facebook needs to be shut down. Or at least heavily moderated by a 3rd party regulatory body. It's done more harm than good, globally, over the years.


Oct 27, 2017
Part of me says put her in prison for child neglect and involuntary manslaughter. The other side says that is excessive as she has other kids to raise but...maybe they would be better off without this lady AND possibly father in the mix. I couldn't imagine my partner wanting to give our kid some fucking berries and bullshit juice instead of the medicine a doctor prescribed. I would be telling her to get fucked, giving our kid his medicine and contemplating separation.


Dec 1, 2017
Take her other kid away. He'll be dead from another thing like this and she still won't learn from the mistake.


Oct 27, 2017
Toronto, Canada
I feel bad for the kid who had to suffer. The parents deserve all the grief they are going to receive and should face criminal charges. Facebook needs to shut that group down.
Oct 25, 2017
Not only did she decline vaccination but she declined recommended treatment.
She killed her own kid through negligence at every stop.
Kid deserved better and the remaining kids do as well. Find them a parent up to the task.

Gamer @ Heart

Oct 26, 2017
If oils and elderberries worked, they'd be sold by "big pharma"
Exactly. They always use the excuse of big pharma and their greedy interests, while happily recommending 700% markup bullshit. Like, if they could legally sell you homeopathic bullshit that costs them $0.20 per bottle and say it cures stuff, they would. But they can't because it doesn't. That final leap in logic is insurmountable to them

On topic: take away the other kids until she's forced into some sort of class or rehabilitation.


Oct 28, 2017
I feel like this should go down a criminal negligence route. She admits to her actions and still thinks they were correct.

The hospital prescribed a treatment and definitely would have advised her to return if his temperature remained high - she ignored it all.


Oct 31, 2017
She's a goddamn murderer. And ofc they never got the flu shot. Vitamin c until he gets diarrhea? That's the fucking cure? God fucking damn.,
Oct 25, 2017
As long as Facebook isn't outright banning these groups, they have blood on their hands as far as I'm concerned.
Oct 27, 2017
All of these shitty parent facebook groups need to be shut down. Sharing this kinda bullshit should be punishable like giving law advice when you're not a lawyer.


Oct 27, 2017
Ashland, Oregon
You KILLED him you dumbass piece of garbage, and no, there was no "had to do" it either
This. They didn’t “do what they had to do,” they ignored their doctor and went to Facebook for advice from people who are completely delusional about medicine. Yeah, they did fail him. At least she got that part right.

I’d like to think stories like this punch some sense into people, but anti-vaxxers are a lost cause.


Oct 25, 2017
Fuck Facebook, fuck Anti-vaxers too... But fuck Facebook the most.

They have the capability to moderate and stamp out this shit and they refuse to; I mean seriously, its 170k members It's not like they are hiding It's in broad daylight. They are just as responsible for these childrens deaths as the parents are.
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