FACT CHECK: Did Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews Call COVID-19 Vaccines ‘Experimental Gene Editing’ In A Press Release?
An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a press release from Daniel Andrews, the premier of Australia’s Victoria state, that talks about his recent hospitalization and calls the COVID-19 vaccine “experimental gene editing.”
There is no record of Andrews or his office putting out the press release. The fake statement appears to have originated as satire.
Andrews tweeted March 8 that he had been admitted to the hospital after “slipping and falling on wet and slippery stairs,” resulting in “several broken ribs and vertebrae damage.” He spent some time in the intensive care unit, according to a statement on his Twitter.
Following the news of his injury, a press release that Andrews purportedly put out started circulating on Facebook. The alleged statement describes how Andrews seemingly “couldn’t even find any covid patient’s (sic) in the rest of the entire hospital” and “did see lots of dancing tiktok nurses.”
The supposed press release goes on to quote Andrews as saying, “There are rumors that I am here for having had an adverse reaction to the jab, and let me be clear, I am not stupid enough to actually undergo experimental gene editing myself.” That line appears to reference a false claim about mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states do “not affect or interact with a person’s DNA.” Andrews has expressed support for COVID-19 vaccines, according to The Australian.
While the press release does feature letterhead resembling that which appears on official Victoria state government press releases, the statement in the post has been fabricated. It cannot be found on the premier’s official website, nor in any of the tweets on his verified Twitter account. Check Your Fact also didn’t find any Australian media outlets attributing the statement to him.
Andrews did release a short statement on the premier’s website on the day of his hospital admission, but it does not match the one in the Facebook post. The fake statement seems to have been created for satirical purposes, with at least one Facebook page that shared it disclaiming, “This is a parody.” (RELATED: Did Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews Say, ‘Insisting On Human Rights Is Not Only Selfish, It’t Stupid’?)
In a real March 14 press release, Andrews said he had returned home from the hospital and will “take a leave of absence” from his duties as premier of Victoria for “at least six weeks.” Deputy Premier James Merlino “will continue to act as Premier of Victoria,” according to the statement.