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Michael Majchrowicz
By Michael Majchrowicz July 8, 2021

Jill Biden did not imply that the government planned the COVID-19 pandemic

If Your Time is short

  • In remarks at Jackson State University, first lady Jill Biden referenced medical and vaccine research.

  • Social media accounts are using edited clips of her remarks and presenting them out of context to suggest she implied the pandemic was planned.

First lady Jill Biden visited vaccination sites in Tennessee and Mississippi on June 22 as part of a nationwide tour to promote the efficacy of vaccines. The two states have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States.

A few days later, selectively edited portions of Biden’s remarks in Mississippi circulated on Instagram — giving the impression that she suggested the pandemic was planned.

"So when this pandemic started, they already had a pandemic ready to go," Biden tells the crowd in the video.

The Instagram user who shared the clip captioned it this way: "So this was planned? It was in the making? This is why you don’t trust the government and nothing they giving out." 

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, which owns Instagram.) 

Here’s the thing: Biden did speak the words in the video, but the Instagram post omits crucial context. 

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Biden was telling a crowd at Jackson State University — a historically Black university in Jackson — that researchers have been studying mRNA vaccines for years. 

If you watch the remarks in their entirety, Biden states:

"I’m surprised to learn that while these vaccines might be new, the technology behind them really isn’t new at all. You know, scientists have been studying similar viruses and working on this type of vaccine for decades, and many of you probably already know this. So when this pandemic started, they already had a pandemic ready to go. And the vaccines might feel like a miracle, but there’s no faith required. They are a result of decades of rigorous scientific research and discoveries, and they’ve been held to the very same safety standard as every single vaccine that we’ve had here in America."

In her speech, Biden did not acknowledge that the pandemic was "planned" or orchestrated by the federal government. When Biden says "they had a pandemic ready to go," she appears to be referring to scientific advances regarding vaccine research.

Our ruling

An Instagram post shows Biden appearing to say that the pandemic was planned.

The post takes her statements out of context to present a misleading narrative. The full remarks show she was referring to vaccine research. 

We rate this claim False.

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Jill Biden did not imply that the government planned the COVID-19 pandemic

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