Stephen Harmon, a 34-year-old California man who didn't believe in vaccines, died of COVID-19 complications last week. His death — and his social media posts mocking vaccinations — were reported by local and national news outlets.
Harmon, who wasn't famous, was a member of a Hillsong church in California. The global church counts celebrities including singer Justin Bieber among its members, but has not taken a stand for or against vaccines.
The Associated Press reported in its opening sentence that Harmon "mocked COVID-19 vaccinations" and had "died this week at a Los Angeles-area hospital after contracting the virus."
The story noted that Harmon had tweeted, in a Twitter account that is now private: "I got 99 problems but a vax ain’t one."
And on July 8 Harmon, who opposed President Joe Biden's proposed door-to-door efforts to persuade the unvaccinated to get a shot, tweeted: "Biden’s door to door vaccine ‘surveyors’ really should be called JaCovid Witnesses. #keepmovingdork."
NBC News posted the AP's story as well.
Business Insider also reported on Harmon's death, noting his attendance at Hillsong and adding that the church "faced accusations recently that church leaders made racist remarks and that LGBTQ members were blacklisted."
Business Insider also shared an anti-vax tweet from Harmon, who was Black, in which he had said:
"Since everything is a social construct these days & folks out here identifying as different races than they're born as (Rachel Dolezal now Nkechi Amare Diallo) I've decided that I, now, identify as a 6'3 D1 collegiate athlete. And, if you prefer, I'll identify as vaccinated, too."
In another tweet, Harmon had questioned why Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, should be trusted over the Bible:
"When you can't trust the Bible cause it was written by man, but you trust the CDC/Fauci guidelines cause they were written by man. Makes total sense."
As Harmon finally needed to be intubated, he tweeted:
"I've fought this thing as hard as I can but unfortunately it's reached a point of critical choice & as much as I hate having to do this i'd rather it be willingness than forced emergency procedure," he wrote. "don't know when I'll wake up, please pray."
Then he made his final tweets, and Business Insider pointed out that Harmon had gone from mocking vaccines to pleading for prayer to keep him alive — noting that Harmon ultimately died.
"If my oxygen crashes again, they need to intubate me, or I’m at risk of serious brain damage from losing consciousness and may not come back."
Hillsong founder Brian Houston called Harmon "one of the most generous people I know."
“As a church, our focus is on the spiritual well-being of the people in each of our local communities. On any medical issue, we strongly encourage those in our church to follow the guidance of their doctors," he told KCBS-TV. "While many of our staff, leadership and congregation have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, we recognize this is a personal decision for each individual to make with the counsel of medical professionals."
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