FACT CHECK: Image Falsely Claims FEMA Is ‘Forcibly Vaccinating’ Hurricane Ida Evacuees

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has forcibly vaccinated New Orleans residents who evacuated due to Hurricane Ida.

Facebook/Screenshot

Facebook/Screenshot

Verdict: False

FEMA has not forcibly vaccinated Hurricane Ida evacuees. The claim stems from a website that says it contains “humor, parody, and satire.”

Fact Check:

FEMA said in a Sept. 2 press release that over 1,100 of its employees had been deployed in Louisiana and Mississippi to “support Ida response and recovery efforts.” Ahead of Ida making landfall in Louisiana Aug. 29 as a category 4 hurricane, New Orleans officials had ordered the mandatory evacuation of residents living outside the city’s levee system, according to USA Today.

The image in the Sept. 5 Facebook post shows the link to a currently inaccessible blog post. Text inside the image reads, “FEMA FORCIBLY VACCINATING IDA EVACUEES (New Orleanians who fled their homes ahead of Hurricane Ida’s terrifying wrath and later tried to return to salvage keepsakes and mementoes met unwelcome visitors along the treacherous stretch of road, highway 610, just south of Lake&nbsp:Pontchartrain (sic).”

There is, however, no evidence people who evacuated for Hurricane Ida are being forcibly vaccinated by FEMA. No mention of such activity appears on FEMA’s social media accounts, nor has the agency announced a move to that effect in any of its press releases or blog posts. (RELATED: Did Animals Escape From A New Jersey Zoo When Remnants Of Hurricane Ida Passed Through?)

Check Your Fact also didn’t find any reports from national news organizations of FEMA forcing Hurricane Ida evacuees to get vaccinations. New Orleans-based outlets such as Fox 8,  4WWL and NOLA.com haven’t reported on it, either.

“Unfortunately, misinformation and rumors often circulate during times of disaster,” a FEMA spokesperson told Check Your Fact via email. “No, FEMA and the CDC are not forcibly vaccinating Hurricane Ida evacuees.”

Most of the text in the image was originally published in a Sept. 1 article by the website Real Raw News. On that website’s “About Us” page, a notice reads, “This website contains humor, parody, and satire.” Although the Real Raw News website contains that disclaimer, iterations of the claim have been shared without a similar warning on social media, leading users to erroneously believe the story is real.

Check Your Fact has previously corrected other inaccurate claims that stemmed from Real Raw News articles, including the baseless allegation that 27 U.S. Air Force pilots resigned over the military requiring COVID-19 vaccinations.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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