FACT CHECK: Are Unvaccinated FEMA Health Care Workers Replacing Nurses And Doctors Who Refuse To Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19?
A viral Instagram post claims that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) health care workers are replacing nurses and doctors who refuse to get COVID-19 vaccines and that the FEMA workers are not required to be vaccinated.
FEMA employees are subject to the executive order requiring federal employees within the executive branch to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Unvaccinated FEMA workers aren’t replacing health care workers who refuse to get vaccinated, according to FEMA’s acting press secretary.
The image features a screen grab of an Oct. 16 tweet that reads, “BREAKING: The FEMA healthcare workers replacing the noncompliant nurses and doctors are not required to get vaccinated via CDC.” The inaccurate claim comes as some health care workers across the U.S. have resigned, been suspended or terminated due to workplace COVID-19 vaccine requirements
FEMA is a federal agency within the Department of Homeland Security and, therefore, its workers are subject to President Joe Biden’s executive order requiring all federal employees of the executive branch to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, which is led by the White House COVID-19 Response Team, General Services Administration and Office of Personnel Management, states on its website that federal employees “need to be fully vaccinated by November 22, 2021.”
“Unvaccinated FEMA employees aren’t replacing noncompliant health care workers,” Acting FEMA Press Secretary Caitlin Justesen told Check Your Fact via email. (RELATED: Will National Guard Members Be Required To Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19 If They Replace Unvaccinated Nurses In New York?)
FEMA states on its website that it is working with other federal agencies to “coordinate with state, tribal and territorial authorities, private sector partners and others to assist, augment and expedite vaccinations in the United States.” The agency has also provided support by leasing equipment to “administer and store the vaccine,” offering “staffing and training support,” providing “personal protective equipment and other administrative supplies,” establishing vaccination centers and setting up “alternate care sites to relieve pressure on local hospital systems,” among other measures, according to FEMA’s website.
FEMA medical staff deployed at states’ requests to help relieve pandemic-related stress on states’ health care systems “abide by the vaccination and other preventive measures requirements established by the receiving facility,” a FEMA spokesperson told the Associated Press.
The U.S. has recorded over 45.3 million total COVID-19 cases to date, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Over 413.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. as of Oct. 24, data on the CDC website shows.