Today host Karl Stefanovic makes social media plea: ‘It has to stop’

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Today host Karl Stefanovic has issued a social media plea against the spread of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, saying that it “has to stop”.

The 47-year-old referenced the recent passing of a NSW Year 12 student, whose death has since been hijacked by anti-vaxxers.

Karl Stefanovic on Today.
Karl slammed ‘faceless keyboard warriors’ who circulated false information. Photos: Channel Nine

“This is year 12 student Tom van Dijk who tragically died while swimming with his family last week,” Karl began, showing a photo of the Sydney student.

“He had a cardiac arrest. So what happens? Thousands of faceless keyboard warriors take it upon themselves to seize on his awful death in front of his family, circulating false information, blaming his death on vaccinations.”

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Karl went on to discuss how the principal from Tom’s school, St Pius X College in Chatswood, has had to shut down the rumours that his death was vaccine-related.

“His school already dealing with grief amongst students was forced to confirm he hadn't even had a vaccination yet,” Karl continued. “That information, that misinformation, is horrific, but people bought it and spread it.

“Imagine the added stress on that poor young man's family… Their pain and their tragedy made worse by lies on social media. It has to stop.”

Tom was not vaccinated because he wasn’t eligible due to his age, and he had had a negative COVID-19 test at the hospital.

Karl’s Today reunion

Karl’s plea comes shortly after he reunited with his former co-host Jessica Rowe on her podcast and discussed her brutal sacking 14 years ago by Channel Nine.

Jessica replaced Tracy Grimshaw in 2006 but was immediately criticised for her appearance, her laugh and for not having enough chemistry with Karl.

“I should have been more there for you and for me it was like, you know, I'm trying to do my own family thing, I have newborns and I just completely didn't think about anyone else, it was like shutdown city,” he said on The Jess Rowe Big Talk Show.

Jessica Rowe and Karl Stefanovic on Today.
Karl became emotional while discussing former co-host Jessica Rowe's sacking 14 years ago. Photo: AAP

“So, you know, this is part of why I'm here today is to apologise to you and I wish I'd been a better person, a better man and a stronger man not just myself, but for you. It's terrible. I feel very bad about that.”

“Oh Karl, thank you for saying that,” Jess replied. “That means so much to me, it really does.”

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