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President Joe Biden made the remarks about getting vaccinated for COVID-19 ahead of hurricanes in August 2021, when the delta variant was causing COVID-19 cases to surge.
Biden recommended people become vaccinated ahead of hurricanes so that they would be prepared to evacuate and shelter with others during storms. He didn’t promote it as a means of protecting people against hurricanes, as claims have suggested.
Back in August 2021, as the delta variant caused COVID-19 cases to surge in the United States, President Joe Biden spoke during a press briefing about the intersection of natural disasters such as hurricanes and the coronavirus.
"If you’re in a state where hurricanes often strike — like Florida or the Gulf Coast or into Texas — a vital part of preparing for hurricane season is to get vaccinated now," Biden said. "Everything is more complicated if you’re not vaccinated and a hurricane or a natural disaster hits."
Biden’s comments were taken out of context then, and they’re being mischaracterized now, as Hurricane Ian takes aim at Florida.
One Facebook post featuring a video clip of Biden’s 2021 remarks has a caption that says Biden made the comments on Sept. 27, 2022.
Another post, this one made Sept. 28, shows the same clip and says: "EXTREMELY URGENT AND IMPORTANT public service announcement about Hurricane Ian coming towards Florida from the president of the United States. This is not a joke. He actually said this."
These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook.)
When Biden made the comments Aug. 10, 2021, there were no tropical storms immediately threatening the mainland U.S. but peak hurricane season was nearing. He was recommending people get vaccinated ahead of hurricanes so that they would be prepared to evacuate and shelter with other people indoors. He didn’t suggest it as a means of protecting people against hurricanes, as claims have suggested.
What did Biden actually say Sept. 27, as Hurricane Ian was heading toward landfall along the Florida’s Gulf Coast?
During a phone call between the president and Florida officials, Biden didn’t mention vaccines, vaccination, COVID-19 or the coronavirus, according to a White House summary.
"The president spoke with the mayors about the potential impacts of Ian and ongoing efforts federal, state and local governments are taking to preposition resources and continue to initiate evacuation operations," the summary said. Biden also "emphasized the importance of encouraging families to heed evacuation orders."
Biden tweeted on Sept. 27 that he "approved a federal emergency declaration" and that he had instructed Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell "to ensure that all available federal support is surged to prepare and respond to the hurricane."
"I encourage Florida families to heed evacuation orders," he said.
Biden also mentioned the hurricane during remarks he gave in the Rose Garden that day about Medicare and the Inflation Reduction Act, saying he had approved the state’s request for emergency assistance and that residents should obey the instructions of local officials.
He didn’t talk about vaccines in connection with the hurricane.
Facebook posts claimed that as Hurricane Ian approached, Biden said, "a vital part of preparing for hurricane season is to get vaccinated now."
Biden made those remarks in 2021 amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, not in 2022 as Hurricane Ian was nearing landfall. And he recommended vaccination to prepare for evacuation or staying in a shelter during hurricanes, not as a means of protecting people against hurricanes.
We rate this claim False.
Facebook post, Sept. 27, 2022
Facebook post, Sept. 28, 2002
The White House, Remarks by President Biden on Medicare and the Inflation Reduction Act, Sept. 27, 2022
@POTUS tweet, Sept. 27, 2022
NPR, Vaccination Rates Rose In August As COVID Cases Surged Due To The Delta Variant, Aug. 31, 2021
The White House, Readout of President Joe Biden’s Calls with Florida Officials on Hurricane Ian Preparation, Sept. 27, 2022
PolitiFact, Video takes Biden out of context on the role vaccines play in hurricane preparedness, Sept. 17, 2021
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