On Saturday night in Sydney, a mother and father lost their son. Children lost a dear friend. A school lost a "brilliant and talented young man" who was an accomplished swimmer and violinist, an outstanding student, and a role model to those in younger year groups.
Thomas Van Dijk, a Year 12 pupil at St Pius X College in the suburb of Chatswood, died after suffering a cardiac arrest while swimming with his family.
The news was announced publicly via a statement from the school's principal. But while the statement celebrated his life, thanks to a deeply misguided minority, a portion had to be devoted to combating lies about his death.
Watch: Dr Lucy Morgan on what it's like to have COVID-19. Post continues below.
Dozens of social media users had mindlessly, insensitively parroted a rumour that Thomas had died after receiving a COVID-19 injection as part of the vaccination program for Year 12 students recently held at Sydney Olympic Park in western Sydney.
"So many teenage boys are being diagnosed with myocarditis after being jabbed, and tragically Tom has had his life taken away," one wrote.
''It's been confirmed, last night, by a friend of Tom's family, that he received the Pfizer vaccine," wrote another.
There was even talk about the family being forced to sign non-disclosure agreements and suppression orders preventing them from mentioning his vaccine status publicly.
Only, none of it was true.
"The College and Tom’s family wish to make it very clear that: Tom was not vaccinated," St Pius X College Principal John Couani wrote in a statement.
"He was not eligible for vaccination due to his age; St Pius X College is not located in one of the Sydney metropolitan LGAs of concern and there has not been any vaccination program offered to our Year 12 students by the NSW Government at this point; Tom had a negative COVID-19 test at the hospital; There were no mental health and wellbeing concerns," the school's principal wrote in a statement.