Fact Check

Was Madonna in ICU Due to Complications from COVID Vaccine in June 2023?

Anti-vaccine Twitter users highlighted her support for the vaccine and tried to connect it to her hospitalization.

Published Jun 29, 2023

 (Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Wikimedia Commons
Pop star Madonna was hospitalized in June 2023 due to complications from getting a COVID vaccination.

The singer’s manager shared on his verified social media account that she was suffering from a bacterial infection. Such an infection has nothing to do with getting vaccinated for COVID-19, though one can get a bacterial infection after contracting the COVID-19 disease.

In June 2023, pop singer Madonna was hospitalized for several days, leading to a flurry of unsubstantiated rumors about her condition. Many Twitter users claimed the hospitalization was connected to her getting a COVID vaccination.

@DiedSuddenly_ claimed, "Madonna has been rushed to a New York City hospital after being found unresponsive" and connected it to her donation of "$1.1 Million dollars to Covid Vaccine" research, and made claims that the vaccine should be 'mandatory like gun control' because it 'saves lives.'"

@dom_lucre wrote, "Please pray for Madonna while she recovers in the ICU room after being found unresponsive for what some reports are saying appears to be vaccine related which would be unfortunate if true since Madonna was one of the loudest supporters of the COVID-19 vaccine."

These claims are false and a deliberate attempt to connect Madonna's illness to the vaccine. According to an Instagram post from the verified account of her manager, Guy Oseary, she was suffering from a bacterial infection. 

The post stated: "On Saturday, June 24, Madonna developed a serious bacterial infection which led to a several day stay in the ICU. Her health is improving, however she is still under medical care. A full recovery is expected." 

There was no other publicly available information about her health condition. 

COVID-19, or the coronavirus disease, is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is not bacterial. Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms that can cause infections, and can live in many types of environments, including in the human body. Viruses are made up of bits of genetic information, either RNA or DNA, surrounded by protein, and need a living host like a person, animal, or plant to survive. 

Madonna may have publicly supported COVID-relief efforts through donating $1 million, supported vaccine research, and spoken about mandatory vaccinations, but no evidence exists that any of these actions are connected to her current illness. 

Bacterial infections are not listed among the adverse effects from getting the COVID vaccine that the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) has investigated. 

However, bacterial coinfection can occur after contracting COVID itself, according to a 2023 study. Among 36,490 hospitalized adults with COVID‐19, 6% had bacterial coinfections. Research led by the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that bacterial coinfection with COVID-19 is a major risk factor for death, intensive care unit admission, and the need for mechanical ventilation.

Madonna has also, however, spread unsubstantiated claims about COVID vaccines. In 2020, she claimed in an Instagram video that a vaccine existed but was being concealed. The video was flagged for misinformation by Instagram and later deleted. 

This is not the first time a celebrity's health crisis has been falsely connected to the COVID-19 vaccine. An unsubstantiated rumor claimed Jamie Foxx had been left "paralyzed and blind" by a COVID-19 vaccine, a claim his team swiftly rejected. Tweets also claimed that actor Lisa Loring died due to the COVID-19 vaccine, without much evidence to back it up. 

The account @DiedSuddenly_ tweeted about Loring's death, as well as Madonna's health. The account's name references the widely debunked "died suddenly" conspiracy theory, which we've reported on previously. The two words "died suddenly" became a way to push rumors that posit, without much evidence, that COVID-19 vaccines increased incidences of people suddenly dying, with little to no warning.

Given that Madonna's team has confirmed she has a bacterial infection and that bacterial infections are not considered a result of her getting a COVID-19 vaccination — though such infections are possible after contracting the virus itself — we rate this claim as False.



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Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.