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FEMA workers aren’t being sent to replace nurses and doctors and other hospital staff members who didn’t comply with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement for health care workers.
The agency and its employees fall under President Joe Biden’s Sept. 9 executive order that mandated COVID-19 vaccines for all federal employees.
Some FEMA employees are deployed at the request of states to alleviate COVID-19 stress on health care systems, and those workers abide by the vaccination and other preventive measures requirements established by the receiving facility, FEMA said.
Hundreds of health care workers across the country are being dismissed or suspended from their jobs for not complying with the government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Some praise the requirement, some rebuke it, and others are using the mandates to spread misinformation.
Widespread social media posts claimed, without evidence, that federal relief workers are being brought in to replace fired health staff, and, ironically, they don’t have to get vaccinated themselves.
"READ THIS. THEN READ IT AGAIN. THEN READ IT AGAIN," an Oct. 18 Instagram post said. "BREAKING: The FEMA healthcare workers replacing the noncompliant nurses and doctors are NOT required to get vaccinated via the CDC."
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.)
This is inaccurate. FEMA and its employees fall under President Joe Biden’s Sept. 9 executive order that mandated COVID-19 vaccines for all federal employees. The same order requires vaccination among the roughly 17 million workers at health care facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid, and vaccination or weekly testing for companies with over 100 employees.
FEMA published a report about the changes on its website, stating that they will "require EMS agencies that participate in federal health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid to mandate vaccination for all staff, with limited exceptions."
Jaclyn Rothenberg, director of public affairs at FEMA, confirmed that the agency’s employees are not replacing recently dismissed unvaccinated doctors and nurses in the first place, and called claims stating otherwise "unequivocally false."
"We work closely with each state to identify resource requirements to fight COVID-19 based on their needs," Rothenberg wrote in an email.
She said that FEMA, in partnership with the departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and Defense, has deployed medical staff at the request of states to alleviate some of the pandemic-induced stress on health care systems.
"These deployed medical staff abide by the vaccination and other preventive measures requirements established by the receiving facility," Rothenberg added.
We rate this post False.
Instagram post, Oct. 18, 2021
WhiteHouse.gov, Executive Order on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees, Sept. 9, 2021
Federal Emergency Management Agency, COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Mandates for EMS Agencies, Sept. 16, 2021
Email interview, Scott Pauley spokesperson at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oct. 19, 2021
Email interview, Jaclyn Rothenberg Director of Public Affairs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Oct. 20, 2021
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