Back to Africa Check

No, South Africa’s well-known TV producer Shona Ferguson died from Covid – not Covid vaccine

“We all know Shona Fergusons death is vaccination related,” reads a message posted on Facebook on 20 August 2021. “The blood clot is an indication of this.”

Actor and producer Shona Ferguson died in Johannesburg on 30 July.

The message continues: “But no one is saying a word...the mere fact that its not even questioned as a possible cause is proof that it is...and if he did recieve vaccination before his death I am dissapointed by the family who dont speak to this fact to save other people who are unaware of these side effects.”

It includes a screenshot of a SABC News TV clip showing a woman in a face mask. At the bottom of the screen, banner text reads: “Investigations into 29 deaths conclude that none were caused by Covid-19 jabs.” 

Ferguson was born in Botswana in 1974, and moved to South Africa in 2001. He co-owned the South African TV and film production company Ferguson Films with his wife, fellow actor Connie Ferguson.

Did Ferguson die of blood clots caused by a Covid-19 vaccine?


Covid complications – not heart attack or blood clot

On 30 July, Ferguson Films posted an official statement announcing the actor’s death, on Instagram. 

“Mr Ferguson’s untimely passing was due to Covid-19 related complications, and not a heart attack as reported by media,” the statement says.

At his funeral on 4 August, his sister-in-law Atosie Pilane said that Ferguson had been diagnosed with Covid-19 on 26 June. He was admitted to hospital with low oxygen levels on 3 July and died four weeks later.

We could find no evidence that Ferguson’s death was caused by a blood clot.

Non-fatal blood clotting in two of 477,234 vaccinations

South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccination programme includes the Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

On 13 April the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a statement recommending the Johnson & Johnson rollout be paused. This was after six women developed thrombosis, a rare and severe type of blood clotting, after getting the vaccine.

On 23 April the FDA lifted the pause after a thorough safety review, concluding that the vaccine was safe and effective in preventing Covid-19.

“The FDA has determined that the available data show that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older,” the agency said

The Sisonke Study, which administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to healthcare workers in South Africa, published its early results on 6 August. Out of 477,234 healthcare workers who received the vaccine, only two cases of thrombosis were reported and both patients made a full recovery.

South African actor Shona Ferguson did not die of blood clotting caused by a Covid-19 vaccine. While cases of blood clotting have been reported following administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, these cases are extremely rare.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.