A satire site a month ago published a joke about the Biden administration creating “quarantine camps” for the unvaccinated. Now that fabricated story is circulating online, presented as if it’s real.
A spoof story has been circulating on social media, presented as though it’s real, spreading the false claim that unvaccinated Americans will be sent to “quarantine camps.”
It’s completely made up.
The original story was posted on June 17 with this headline: “President Joe Biden Announces Americans Not Vaccinated Before 2022 Will Be Put In Camps.”
Less than a week later, two other sites had copied it. They both included a satire disclaimer at the bottom of the story. But social media users missed the note and left comments like this one on Facebook: “Oh he really wants a civil war…doesn’t he???!!!”
Actor Noel Gugliemi, known for his role in “The Fast and the Furious” movies, shared a screenshot of the headline from one of the copycat sites with his 276,000 Instagram followers. He didn’t include a satire disclaimer at all and, instead, posted a comment that claimed, “Either put the poison in you or will try forcing the poison in you, either way you’ll get it or else.”
The same screenshot was then featured in a TikTok video that’s been viewed more than 939,000 times. That video then migrated to another Instagram account, where it’s been viewed more than 38,000 times.
Not only is the claim about “quarantine camps” completely fabricated, but Biden has said that he doesn’t think vaccines should be federally mandated.
As we’ve explained before, as far back as Dec. 4 — before he had taken office and before the first vaccines were available — Biden was asked about potential vaccine mandates. He answered, “No, I don’t think it should be mandatory. I wouldn’t demand it to be mandatory, but I would do everything in my power, just like I don’t think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide, I’ll do everything in my power as president of [the] United States to encourage people to do the right thing.”
His administration has maintained that posture since he took office.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki answered a question about the cruise industry and vaccine passports at a May 24 press conference by saying, “[W]e are not instituting vaccine passports from a federal level. We certainly understand that industries will make their own decisions about how to continue their — the work they need to do.”
Then, at a July 12 press briefing, Psaki reaffirmed that the federal government wouldn’t mandate vaccinations, although she said the administration would support entities that do require the shots.
“That’s not a decision that we are making. That’s not a — that is not our intention from the federal government,” Psaki said, responding to a question about local mandates. “There will be decisions made by private-sector entities, by universities, by educational institutions, and even perhaps by local leaders, should they decide that is how to keep their community safe. If they decide to make that decision, we certainly support them in that step.”
“[M]illions of Americans are still unvaccinated and unprotected,” Biden said on July 6. “And because of that, their communities are at risk. Their friends are at risk. The people they care about are at risk. This is an even bigger concern because of the delta variant.”
He announced a shift in the focus of the vaccination program from large-scale facilities to, instead, “meet people where they are.” The administration is going to focus on supplying vaccines to local pharmacists and physicians and to invest in mobile vaccination clinics that can go to sporting events, places of worship, summer festivals — “wherever we can find people gathered,” Biden said.
“Now we need to go to community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oftentimes, door to door — literally knocking on doors — to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus,” Biden said.
The phrase about going “door to door” whipped up controversy among some conservative politicians and media personalities, who cast it as something akin to a mandate or forced vaccination scheme. For example, Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert, of Colorado, referred to the people knocking on doors as “Needle Nazis,” and Fox News host Tucker Carlson said, “I honestly think it’s the greatest scandal in my lifetime by far. … The idea that you would force people to take medicine they don’t want or need, is there a precedent for that in our lifetimes?”
But, as we’ve explained, there’s no evidence to support the claim that the outreach effort would result in forced vaccinations.
And, contrary to Carlson’s claim that vaccines aren’t needed, the seven-day rolling average of daily deaths from COVID-19 has declined by more than 90% since the vaccines became available in the U.S. The seven-day average of daily deaths was 2,781 on Dec. 14; as of July 20, it was down to 237, according to the CDC.
Psaki has made it clear that the federal government will not require anyone to be vaccinated against their wishes.
“What we’re doing is local officials are going to areas where there are lower vaccination rates and providing information on where people can get access to a vaccine, where they can go, that it’s free,” Psaki told reporters on Air Force One on July 7. “It’s up to individuals to decide whether they want to get vaccinated or not.”
The outreach effort relies on “trusted messengers” — who are largely doctors and community and faith leaders — going door to door in areas with low vaccination rates to answer questions and talk about the vaccines, Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, explained at a July 8 press briefing.
So, there is no evidence of a forced vaccination program or quarantine camps for the unvaccinated.
Editor’s note: SciCheck’s COVID-19/Vaccination Project is made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The foundation has no control over our editorial decisions, and the views expressed in our articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the foundation. The goal of the project is to increase exposure to accurate information about COVID-19 and vaccines, while decreasing the impact of misinformation.
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Boebert, Lauren (@laurenboebert). “Biden has deployed his Needle Nazis to Mesa County. The people of my district are more than smart enough to make their own decisions about the experimental vaccine and don’t need coercion by federal agents. Did I wake up in Communist China?” Twitter. 8 Jul 2021.
“‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ on critical race theory, July 4th.” Transcript. Foxnews.com. Updated 8 Jul 2021.
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