Viral Tend Mocks Leg-Shaking COVID Vaccine Side Effect Claim

Twitter users mocked a video they believe shows a woman pretending to have side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine.

In response to a tweet from billionaire Elon Musk questioning whether he might have suffered “permanent damage” from his second booster shot, Twitter user Angelia Desselle shared footage of herself shaking uncontrollably.

“This is me in the hospital after 1 dose of Pfizer on 05/01/2021,” she tweeted. “I was a very healthy 45-year-old running a surgery center. Two years later I still have big problems.”

But many were immediately skeptical about the video. PolitiFact fact-checkers were able to speak to Desselle’s son, Brant Griner, after she reportedly refused to answer questions. Griner declined to share “where his mother got the vaccine, where she was hospitalized, or what doctors she spoke to.”

Although health professionals have never linked the spastic symptoms to the COVID-19 vaccine, Desselle’s video has been treated as gospel by QAnon supporters and other anti-vaccination groups.

However, Twitter users reacted differently.

“It sucks so much that they developed a vaccine that only unleashes its side effects on right-wing conservatives,” one user jokingly told Desselle, whose Twitter profile is filled with conspiratorial content. “Terrible.”

The story quickly turned into a meme after users started sharing hilarious footage of their own alongside the phrase “Thank you Pfizer,” which became a trending topic on Monday.

“Heartbreaking. This man took the COVID vaccine and these are his side effects,” said one user. “Thanks Pfizer.”

“Giving for my cousin right now,” wrote another. “Thanks Pfizer.”

A thorough investigation into Desselle’s claims was fruitless, Wired noted. In Desselle’s state of Louisiana, no serious side effects were ever reported during the time she was reported to have side effects.

Not only that, Desselle claims in another video that her doctor said her symptoms were caused by “some metals in the vaccine,” a reference to a debunked conspiracy theory about the vaccine’s contents.

Read more about the Daily Dot’s technical and political coverage

*Initial publication: January 23, 2023 at 11:39 am CST

Michael Thalen

Mikael Thalen is a Seattle-based tech and security reporter covering social media, data breaches, hackers and more.

Michael Thalen Viral Tend Mocks Leg-Shaking COVID Vaccine Side Effect Claim

Jaclyn Diaz

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