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Debunked: No, this US nurse who fainted after her Covid-19 vaccine has not died

The nurse has said her fainting was not linked to the vaccine, but to a health condition she has.

SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS circulating in recent days have falsely claimed a nurse in the US who fainted after she received a Covid-19 vaccine has died.

The posts state the nurse, named as Tiffany Dover, who was seen to collapse shortly after her vaccine was administered last week, died shortly afterwards. 

Dover, a critical care nurse at CHI Memorial hospital in Tennessee, did collapse after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

CHI Memorial hospital released a statement last week stating that it administered its first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to six people – three physicians and three nurses. 

“Shortly after and while conducting a media interview, one of the nurses became dizzy and was assisted to the floor. She never lost consciousness and quickly recovered.”

In a media interview Dover explained that her fainting was due to a condition she has. 

Source: WRCB Chattanooga/YouTube

“I have a history of having an overactive vagal response,” she said.

With that, if I have pain from anything – a hangnail, or a stubbed toe – I can just pass out. What happened is, I get an aura before feeling weak, dizzy, disoriented and it just hit me all of a sudden.

“I feel fine now and the pain in my arm is very minimal actually,” she added.

She said she had “passed out” around six times in the last six weeks. “It’s common for me,” she said.

Vasovagal syncope is a recognised condition that causes a person to faint because their body overreacts to certain triggers. It may also be called neurocardiogenic syncope. The vasovagal syncope trigger causes the heart rate and blood pressure to drop suddenly.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said fainting can be triggered by many types of medical procedures, including others involving the use of a needle such as the extraction of blood. The CDC said it receives reports of people fainting “after nearly all vaccines”. 

“Fainting itself is generally not serious, but harm from related falls or other accidents can cause injury.”

In the days after the images of Dover fainting were publicised, social media posts speculated or claimed she had died. 

A Facebook group entitled ‘Justice for Tiffany Pontes Dover RIP’ was also set up. 

“Let’s break silence and spread the truth on the death of nurse Tiffany after taking Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19,” it states. 

CHI Memorial released a video earlier this week featuring Tiffany Dover, who is not dead, surrounded by a number of colleagues.

Source: CHI Memorial/YouTube

“We’re pleased to share Tiffany Dover is doing well. He’s a short video of her today surrounded by her colleagues who all support her,” the caption reads.

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The hospital also said the nurse had asked for “privacy for her and her family”. 

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There is a lot of false news and scaremongering being spread in Ireland at the moment about coronavirus. Here are some practical ways for you to assess whether the messages that you’re seeing – especially on WhatsApp – are true or not. 

STOP, THINK AND CHECK 

Look at where it’s coming from. Is it someone you know? Do they have a source for the information (e.g. the HSE website) or are they just saying that the information comes from someone they know? A lot of the false news being spread right now is from people claiming that messages from ‘a friend’ of theirs. Have a look yourself – do a quick Google search and see if the information is being reported elsewhere. 

Secondly, get the whole story, not just a headline. A lot of these messages have got vague information (“all the doctors at this hospital are panicking”) and don’t mention specific details. This is often – but not always a sign – that it may not be accurate. 

Finally, see how you feel after reading it. A lot of these false messages are designed to make people feel panicked. They’re deliberately manipulating your feelings to make you more likely to share it. If you feel panicked after reading something, check it out and see if it really is true.

TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here

Have you gotten a message on WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter about coronavirus that you’re not sure about and want us to check it out? Message or mail us and we’ll look into debunking it. WhatsApp: 085 221 4696 or Email: answers@thejournal.ie

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