Just a few weeks shy of what would have been her 100th birthday, actress Betty White died on Dec. 31, 2021 at the age of 99.
"Betty died peacefully in her sleep at her home," the Golden Girls' agent told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. Shortly after her death was announced, social media rumors arose that Betty White had actually died due to causes related to receiving a COVID-19 booster.
So, is there any truth to these claims? And if they are, when did Betty White get her COVID booster?
When did Betty White get her COVID booster?
According to a widely circulated claim, three days before her death, on Dec. 28, Betty White told a news outlet, "Eat healthy and get all your vaccines. I just got boosted today."
That claim has since been debunked by the Associated Press as well as by the actress's agent, Jeff Witjas, who called the rumors false and despicable. According to Jeff, Betty "did not receive a booster that day." What's more, the AP writes that "the news article cited by social media users does not contain the bogus quote or anything about vaccines."
Twitter posts circulating the fabricated quote link to an article on Crow River Media, titled "Betty White: I'm lucky to still be in good health." But the AP, having reviewed that article, as well as its archived versions, confirms there was no mention of COVID-19 vaccine boosters in any iteration of the story.
Did Betty White receive the COVID-19 booster?
Jeff Witjas has been outspoken in recent days about the false nature of the quote that is being attributed to his late client. "Betty never said this," Jeff told the Associated Press.
He also confirmed that Betty did not receive a booster on Dec. 28. However, he did not comment on whether or not she had received a booster at all. In a statement to People Magazine, Jeff said, "People are saying her death was related to getting a booster shot three days earlier but that is not true. She died of natural causes. Her death should not be politicized — that is not the life she lived."
"Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever," Jeff said to People, announcing her death. "I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don't think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again."
What is the Betty White Challenge? Honor the animal lover on Jan. 17, 2022.
Speaking of animals, social media users are encouraging each other to honor Betty's legacy on what would have been her 100th birthday by donating $5 to a local animal rescue or shelter in the Mary Tyler Moore Show star's name. This effort is gaining traction and circulating online by the name of the Betty White Challenge.
Many are taking to Twitter to circulate an image with the text, "Make her 100th birthday the movement she deserves." "Please pass it on," users are writing.
As of this writing, the Betty White Challenge post has been retweeted nearly 20,000 times.