Stand up for the facts!

Misinformation isn't going away just because it's a new year. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact.

More Info

I would like to contribute

President Joe Biden signs executive orders on the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Washington. Vice President Kamala Harris looks on at left. (AP) President Joe Biden signs executive orders on the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Washington. Vice President Kamala Harris looks on at left. (AP)

President Joe Biden signs executive orders on the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Washington. Vice President Kamala Harris looks on at left. (AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher August 20, 2021

Biden, Harris questioned Trump not vaccines; they back some vaccine requirements

If Your Time is short

  • Biden and Harris questioned whether Trump would roll out COVID-19 vaccines safely. They did not question the vaccines themselves.

  • The Biden administration supports requiring some people, such as members of the military and VA hospital workers, to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

One line of attack on President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris over COVID-19 holds that they went from opposing vaccines during the 2020 presidential campaign, while Donald Trump was in office, to mandating them now.

"Biden & Kamala continuously questioned the vaccine during the campaign. Yet now they apparently love it so much they support Vaccine Cards & Forced Vaccinations," an Instagram post charges. "Their position flipped flopped solely bc of who was in the White House, this is why we don’t trust those in power!"

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

It’s not correct that Biden and Harris questioned COVID-19 vaccines. They said they did not trust Trump, and whether he would roll out the vaccines safely.

The Biden administration supports requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for certain people, such as members of the military.

Vaccines: We rated False a claim that Biden and Harris distrusted COVID-19 vaccines. They said they trusted public health experts, but questioned Trump’s trustworthiness, his ability to roll out the vaccines safely and the risk of political influence over vaccine development. Trump was publicly touting the promise of a rapidly developed COVID-19 vaccine as early as March 2020, when fears of a global pandemic were just beginning to flare, and said he was urging researchers working on the vaccine to "speed it up." Scientists and drug makers, meanwhile, were urging more caution on the timeline and said they were emphasizing safety and effectiveness over speed.

Featured Fact-check

Vaccine "cards": Biden addressed the issue at a press conference Aug. 3. Asked whether more cities and states should follow New York City in requiring proof of vaccination to enter places such as restaurants and gyms, Biden replied: "I do." Biden was also asked: "Do you think that they should institute a vaccine passport-type system or some sort of verification to use public spaces?" He replied: "I don’t think they need to do that. I think they just need to give the authority of those restaurants or businesses to say, ‘In order to come in, you have to give proof that you’ve been vaccinated or you can’t come in.’"

Vaccinations: Biden is requiring federal workers and contractors to sign forms attesting that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, or requiring them to submit to regular testing and other requirements. The Pentagon is requiring all members of the military to be vaccinated. The Department of Veterans Affairs is requiring 115,000 of its frontline health care workers to be vaccinated. On Aug. 18, Biden announced he will soon require employees in nursing homes that serve people who are on Medicare or Medicaid to be vaccinated, or the nursing homes will lose funding from those two programs. 

We rated False a claim that Biden promoted "mandatory vaccines for everybody" in a March 11 speech. On July 30, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said there will be no nationwide mandate for Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine. In his Aug. 18 remarks, Biden said: "While I’m mindful that my authority at the federal level is limited, I’m going to continue to look for ways to keep people safe and increase vaccination rates." 

Our ruling

An Instagram post claims that Biden and Harris "continuously questioned the vaccine during the campaign," but now "they support vaccine cards and forced vaccinations."

Biden and Harris questioned whether Trump would roll out COVID-19 vaccines safely. They did not question the vaccines themselves. Biden says he supports requirements for showing proof of vaccination to enter certain places, but does not back vaccine passports. The Biden administration supports requiring some people, such as members of the military and VA hospital workers, to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Instagram post contains an element of truth, but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Tom Kertscher

Biden, Harris questioned Trump not vaccines; they back some vaccine requirements

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up