Texas GOP Official Dies of COVID Days After Sharing Anti-Vaccine Meme

A Texas GOP official has died of COVID-19 just days after sharing a meme on Facebook criticizing the use of vaccines.

H. Scott Apley, who was a Dickinson City councilman and member of the State Republican Executive Committee in Texas, shared a screenshot of a Tweet questioning the role and effectiveness of vaccinations in the pandemic.

"In 6 months, we've gone from the vax ending the pandemic — to you can still get covid even if vaxxed — to you can pass covid onto others even if vaxxed — to you can still die of covid even if vaxxed — to the unvaxxed are killing the vaxxed," the message read.

The post, which has been shared more than 279,000 times on Facebook, was posted to Apley's profile on July 31.

According to a Go Fund Me page, on August 1 he was admitted to UTMB Galveston with pneumonia-like symptoms and subsequently tested positive for COVID. His wife, Melissa, also tested positive for the coronavirus but was not hospitalized.

On August 4, a statement from the Republican Party confirmed Apley had died after contracting the virus. He was 45.

"The Texas Republican Party is incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) Member Scott Apley from Senate District 11," the statement read.

"Scott was a first term member of the SREC who had a long history of conservative political activism...The entire staff of the Republican Party of Texas grieves his loss and extends our prayers of peace and comfort for Scott's family in this difficult time."

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Apley is survived by his wife and young infant son, Reid.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to provide his family with additional financial support to cover his medical expenses and has so far generated over $30,000.

According to the Galveston County Daily News, it is not known whether Apley had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The anti-vaccine meme shared to Apley's Facebook account was one of several contentious posts that have come to light in the wake of his death.

Another, posted three days earlier on July 27, included a meme carrying the false claim that "Germany plans to force people who won't quarantine into camps" alongside a cartoon character reacting to the false assertion.

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In May he also shared a post criticizing the idea of businesses introducing vaccine passports for customers and shared an invitation for a "mask burning" event in Cincinnati, writing "I wish I lived in the area."

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Newsweek has reached out to the Republican Party of Texas for comment.

A COVID-19 vaccine and syringe.
Stock image of a COVID-19 vaccine and syringe - a Texas Republican Party official has died days after sharing an anti-vaccine social media post. Scalinger/Getty