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Fact check: Nurse who fainted after COVID-19 vaccine did not die

Update January 4, 2021: Including comment from Ancestry in paragraph 10.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Social media users have been sharing posts that claim that the nurse who fainted after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is dead. This claim is false: the Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Nurse Manager Tiffany Dover works, confirmed to Reuters that she is well.

Most posts reference an “Alabama nurse,” likely conflating two pieces of misinformation (previously debunked by Reuters  here  and  here  ) .

The posts (here  ,  here  ,  here  ,  here) share videos (here  ,  here  ,  here) or screenshots that show that the websites Ancestry.com and SearchQuarry have a record of Tiffany Dover or Tiffany Pontes (which they claim is her real name) from Higdon, Alabama, who died at the age of 30 in 2020, also listing some of her known relatives. Captions include, “Tiffany Dover confirm (sic) dead from vaccine”; “Tiffany Dover – Another Vaccine Casualty”; and “Tiffany Dover … passed away.”

As Reuters explained in a previous fact check (here) Dover did faint after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as seen in this video by local news outlets WTVC-TV NewsChannel 9  here  and WRCBtv 3  here  .

After recovering, she told WRCB Chattanooga and WTVC-TV NewsChannel 9, “It just hit me all of a sudden, I could feel it coming on. I felt a little disoriented but I feel fine now.” (here  ,  here)

Dover said that she has a medical condition where she often faints when she feels pain (here) .

CHI Memorial spokeswoman Karen Long told Reuters on Dec. 28 that claims Dover is dead are not true. The hospital posted a video, seen here , of Dover with her colleagues four days after she received the first dose of the vaccine to show that she was still well.

Reuters asked Dover for comment via social media but did not immediately hear back.

Regarding further “proof” presented in these claims, the information about the death of a Tiffany Dover or Tiffany Pontes is taken from Ancestry.com and SearchQuarry, neither of which is an official public record site and neither of which shows an official death certificate.

When Reuters carried out the search on SearchQuarry, the site repeatedly timed out. Based on the amount of information Reuters was able to see on Dover’s publicly-available Facebook and Instagram profiles, it would be fairly easy to make a profile on Ancestry.com for Dover with various family details (here) . An Ancestry spokesperson confirmed to Reuters via email that details entered for an individual "don’t need to be backed up or supported by official sources" and are not verified by Ancestry, but are "entered at the tree owners discretion".

On Dec. 18, Reuters debunked false claims, which started spreading before Dover received the vaccine, about an Alabama nurse dying after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine (here) .

The Alabama Public Health Department (APHD) published a statement (here) on Dec. 16 saying they had investigated the claim and found it to be false: “The posts are untrue, and no persons who received COVID-19 vaccine in Alabama have died. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has reached out to all hospitals in the state which administered the COVID-19 vaccine and confirmed there have been no deaths of vaccine recipients.”

VERDICT

False. A spokeswoman for CHI Memorial, where Tiffany Dover works, confirmed to Reuters that she is well.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .

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