Here’s a roundup of some of most viral, but totally false stories and visuals from the week. Despite being shared on social media, none of these stories are true. They were checked by the Associated Press. These are the facts:
FEMA employees who aren’t vaccinated won’t replace non-compliant health care workers
CLAIM: Federal Emergency Management Agency workers are not required to get vaccinated against COVID-19. However, they are being used to replace healthcare personnel who refuse to follow vaccination mandates.
FACTS: These claims are spreading on social media platforms and gaining thousands upon thousands of shares and likes. However, both are false. FEMA workers are federal employees, and must be vaccinated against COVID-19 within the timeframe of President Joe Biden’s executive order. The agency does not send its employees to replace unvaccinated personnel. Jaclyn Rothenberg (FEMA’s director for public affairs) said that FEMA employees must be vaccinated according to President Trump’s directives. She also stated: “The claims on social media that FEMA workers are replacing non-vaccinated workers are untrue.” FEMA coordinates with the federal government in order to respond to natural disasters. Rothenberg stated that while the agency supported the states and their health care systems during the pandemic, the agency has mostly done so by providing resources, coordination assistance, and setting up mobile vaccination units. It also reimbursed states for certain inoculation efforts. Rothenberg said that the agency also worked in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Respond to distribute supplies like ventilators and anti-body treatments. Rothenberg said that the agency also collaborated with federal agencies that send medical personnel to states. Rothenberg sent an email explaining that the agency had deployed medical personnel at the request of the State to relieve some of the stress caused COVID on the state’s health care system. Rothenberg also wrote that the agency worked in partnership with Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, and the Department of Defense. “These deployed medical personnel abide by vaccination and other preventive measures required by the receiving facility.” Some states are exploring the possibility of calling in National Guard members with medical training to address potential staffing shortages. A Pentagon order also requires that the Guard receive the vaccine.