FACT CHECK: Did Kathy Hochul Announce New Yorkers Must Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19 To Get A Driver’s License Or Vehicle Registration?

Mecca Fowler | Contributor

A video shared on Instagram claims Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a new mandate requiring all New Yorkers obtaining or renewing a driver’s license or vehicle registration to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


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Verdict: False

The WROC article appears to be fabricated. Hochul has not announced a mandate requiring New Yorkers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to obtain or renew driver’s licenses or vehicle registrations.

Fact Check:

The text in the video uses the Rochester-based news station’s call letters, WROC, to make it seem like a real news article reported on Hochul announcing New Yorkers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to obtain or renew a driver’s license or vehicle registration. It alleges that the mandate, supposedly announced at one of Hochul’s coronavirus press briefing, will go into effect Jan. 1, 2022.

There is, however, no record of Hochul announcing such a policy during any of the COVID-19 press briefings she has attended since taking office in August. None of the governor’s press releases or executive orders mention instituting a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for obtaining a driver’s license or vehicle registration.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles does not list proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a current requirement for obtaining or renewing a license or a vehicle registration. Nor has the department announced such a policy going into effect starting next year. Tim O’Brien, a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, confirmed to Check Your Fact via email that the video’s claim is inaccurate.

Furthermore, a search of WROC’s website turned up no matches for the story pictured in the Instagram video. WROC reported Oct. 11 that the supposed article making the false claim about Hochul announcing the requirements was a “Photoshopped image using our station’s call letters.”

Hochul on Oct. 11 quote-tweeted WROC’s article debunking the claim. (RELATED: Are New York Hospitals Refusing To Release Newborn Babies To Unvaccinated Parents?)

“Disinformation campaigns about the COVID vaccine are dangerous not only because they spread lies, they cost lives,” she tweeted. “We must stand up to these insidious efforts and make sure New Yorkers have the facts. We cannot let disinformation sow division.”

Mecca Fowler