"Freedom and Dignity Are Worth More than Life": The Dramatic Suicide of an Anti-Vax Man

Healthcare (Basel). 2022 Oct 28;10(11):2141. doi: 10.3390/healthcare10112141.


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 public health emergency, we have witnessed an increase in psychiatric problems and pathologies, such as depression, anxiety, isolation, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and burnout. The world's collective sentiment finally turned toward optimism after authorization was granted for the COVID-19 vaccines' emergency use by the FDA in December 2020. With the increase in vaccine coverage in Western countries, case counts and deaths gradually plummeted while activity restrictions were progressively lifted. At the same time, however, a new COVID-19-related public health issue has arisen, as a substantial number of eligible individuals refused vaccination. Behaviors assumed by the so-called anti-vax people in manifesting their own opposition towards COVID-19 vaccination are various, and sometimes assume the forms of dramatic gestures with symbolic value, such as suicide. Here, we present the case of a healthy, convinced anti-vax, 58-year-old man, who allowed himself to be run over by a moving train in the presence of eyewitnesses, bringing with him a demonstrative note of his reasons. The present article aims to raise awareness against the social and psychological impact of COVID-19 vaccination refusal and to point out the need of a specific support net to avoid the spread of psychological impairment, social isolation and suicidal behaviors among the "anti-vax community".

Keywords: anti-vax; forensic pathology; forensic psychiatry; suicide.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.