FACT CHECK: Did FEMA Arrive In Kentucky With More Vaccines Than Relief Supplies?
A post shared on Facebook claims the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) arrived in Kentucky to provide relief to tornado-struck areas with more vaccines than other supplies.
There is no evidence this happened. The claim stems from a satirical website.
A series of deadly tornadoes ripped through Kentucky and surrounding states on Dec. 10 and Dec. 11, leaving at least 78 dead, according to CBS affiliate WLKY. In the aftermath of the storms, President Joe Biden approved an Emergency Declaration and a Disaster Declaration which authorized federal funds and aid to be directed to the disaster zone.
An image shared on Facebook, however, claims the federal response is focused on vaccinating people instead of providing conventional disaster relief. It includes what appears to be a screen grab of a news headline that reads, “FEMA Arrives in Tornado-Stricken Kentucky — WITH VACCINATIONS.” The post’s caption goes on to claim that FEMA “brought more Covid-19 vaccinations than it did blankets, food, and bottled water, a clear sign that the Deep State-run organization is still trying to coerce law-abiding Americans into taking the jab.” The post also claims FEMA refused to assist those who were unvaccinated.
There are, however, no reports from local news outlets like WLKY, the Bowling Green Daily News and the Courier-Journal of FEMA turning unvaccinated people seeking tornado-related aid. The FEMA website likewise makes no mention of such a policy. (RELATED: Are Unvaccinated FEMA Health Care Workers Replacing Nurses And Doctors Who Refuse To Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19)
Jaclyn Rothenberg, the FEMA director of public affairs, told Check Your Fact in an email that the premise of the claim on Facebook is false. She stated that while FEMA has assisted in vaccination efforts in Kentucky for months, “You can’t compare vaccine to the equipment, commodities, staff, logistical and incident support, and funding (directly to individuals and communities) we’ve already sent to KY – and much more that’s on its way.”
“Our top priority is helping Kentuckians in the aftermath of this storm,” she also said. “We remain in a life-saving and life-sustaining mission on the ground in Kentucky and are committed to helping these communities recover with needed crisis supplies.”
In connection to the disaster, FEMA has approved 436 individual assistance applications and provided over $4.5 million in assistance in Kentucky, according to the agency’s website.
The viral claim appears to originate with a Dec. 13 article published by Real Raw News, a site that includes a disclaimer that reads, in part, “This website contains humor, parody, and satire.” The disclaimer has not stopped some social media users from sharing the article as if it were true.
Check Your Fact has previously debunked viral claims stemming from Real Raw News articles, including claims that political figures such as George W. Bush, Gavin Newsom and Anita Dunn were arrested by the military.