CDC Partners With ‘Social and Behavior Change’ Initiative to Silence Vaccine Hesitancy

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Dr. Mary Talley Bowden, a Stanford-educated ear, nose, and throat doctor, isn’t afraid to voice her beliefs. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she repeatedly used her platform on Twitter and TikTok to question the vaccines, promote ivermectin as a treatment, and call out pharmacists for refusing to dispense it.

But her efforts resulted in significant backlash. On Nov. 7, 2021, Dr. Danielle Jones, an OBGYN who posts under the handle @MamaDoctorJones on YouTubeTikTok, and Twitter—and has millions of followers—put out a video accusing Bowden of “grifting,” rejecting science, and profiting from those who questioned the vaccine.

The video received thousands of comments, including from Team Halo members, Dr. Zachary Rubin, a pediatrician, and Christina Kim, an oncology nurse practitioner. Team Halo is a social media influencer campaign formed as part of the United Nations Verified initiative and the Vaccine Confidence Project to increase vaccine uptake.

“That doc is problematic,” Rubin wrote. Kim followed with, “Wow. That ‘doctor’ should have her license revoked.”

On Nov. 12, 2021, five days after the video, Bowden received a text message from the Houston Chronicle, “Hi Dr. Bowden, I’m told you’ve been suspended from Houston Methodist pending further investigation because of your comments on social media. I plan to report that this afternoon but wanted to give you an opportunity to comment.” Stunned, Bowden responded that the text was the first she had heard of the suspension.

The suspension turned out to be the tip of the iceberg. Over the following months, Bowden’s life was thrown into chaos as multiple social media influencers targeted her. However, the most dogged was a pharmacist named Savannah, who posts under the handle @rxOrcist.

“Savannah has over a million followers. She made a video about me because I have been calling out, online, pharmacists that were refusing to dispense ivermectin,” Bowden told The Epoch Times. “The majority of them happen to be Asian. So, she, therefore, concluded that I was racist against Asians and called me a ‘xenophobic, racist [expletive],’ among other things.

By Katie Spence

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