The #WheresTiffanyDover hashtag reappears every few weeks in the most paranoid sections of social media. In 2020, Ms. Dover, an Alabama nurse, was among the first Americans in a frontline position to get the Covid vaccine. The nurse was shown getting the injection as part of a trust-in-the-jab promotion, but as she passed out on camera, she became fodder for conspiracy theorists.
Eventually, Ms. Dover, a mother and devoted emergency department nurse, seemed to disappear from public view, leading to more unfounded rumors about her, her hospital, her family, and Covid vaccinations in general.
In her first extended interview since unwittingly becoming the center of an anti-vax campaign, Ms. Dover told NBC News, “I didn’t die that day.” But the world I was a part of did.
The nurse told the network that she was so busy on the day she had the vaccine that she didn’t have time for lunch, but that she is still thankful for the vaccine despite the fact that it almost ruined her life.
I blacked out, you know. This might happen accidentally. Vaccines can cause unconsciousness, but that’s okay because they can save your life. Hence, it’s worthwhile,” she concluded.
She went on to say that she wished she had spoken up sooner.
Conspiracy theories went crazy as management at CHI Memorial Hospital Chattanooga advised Ms. Dover to stop using social media. Facebook groups, social media videos, podcasts, and QAnon theories soon centered on Ms. Dover. Messages were sent to friends and family members accusing them of participating in a cover-up. Amber Honea, a coworker, was fingered as a possible double.
Misinformation about Covid swept up the experiences of many people, not just Ms. Dover. Aspiring model Claire Bridges of Tampa, Florida became an unintended symbol for the anti-vaccine movement.
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Her experience with Covid was complicated by a congenital heart defect, which led to rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which the blood is poisoned by the breakdown of muscle tissue. As a result, both of her legs had to be amputated below the knee.
Ms. Bridge’s experience was utilized by anti-vaccination activists to spread misinformation about the safety of vaccines.
“I felt true rage — that someone was telling my story, they didn’t even ask permission, they weren’t even telling it correctly, and they were using it to push a personal agenda,” Ms Bridges told HuffPost of the experience. “You’re forgetting the fact that I’m a human.”
“My legs were amputated due to COVID/[rhabdomyolysis], not the vaccine,” she told the site in January. “For anyone who doesn’t have any of the facts to say anything different than that, is extremely rude, harmful and disrespectful.”
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