Fact check: False claim that FEMA gave Kentuckians affected by tornadoes vaccines, not aid

·3 min read

The claim: FEMA gave Kentuckians affected by tornadoes vaccines, not crisis supplies

After tornadoes ripped through Kentucky in mid-December, leaving many communities unrecognizable, President Joe Biden directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide aid. But a blog post online claims the agency showed up to help with vaccines instead of disaster supplies.

"FEMA Arrives in Tornado-Stricken Kentucky—With VACCINATIONS," reads the headline of a Dec. 13 Real Raw News article.

The article – which has more than 900 Facebook interactions and 200 Twitter interactions, according to the social media analytics tool CrowdTangle – goes on to say that FEMA "brought more COVID-19 vaccinations than it did blankets, food, and bottled water."

More: 'I'm alive. The house is gone.' Harrowing stories from those who survived deadly Kentucky tornadoes

But that's not true. A FEMA spokesperson confirmed to USA TODAY that the claim is false. Real Raw News repeatedly spreads wrong information online.

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USA TODAY reached out to Real Raw News for comment.

FEMA: Claim is false

Jaclyn Rothenberg, FEMA's director of public affairs, called the article's claim "unequivocally false."

"You can’t compare (the) vaccine to the equipment, commodities, staff, logistical and incident support, and funding, directly to individuals and communities, we’ve already sent to KY – and much more that’s on its way," Rothenberg said in an email.

FEMA has provided COVID-19 funding and support to Kentucky throughout the year, including $46.9 million to help with vaccinating Kentuckians. But comparing that to disaster efforts in Kentucky after the tornadoes of Dec. 10-11 is disingenuous.

"We provided vaccines over several months, whereas (the tornadoes) occurred last Friday night," Rothenberg said. "Providing more supplies than vaccines depends on how you measure it – whatever that is. But the premise is false."

More: Kentucky governor says death toll count remains at 74 as search efforts continue

Real Raw News is known to spread false claims online.

Fact check: Video of Fauci discussing COVID-19 vaccine safety is from March 2020

USA TODAY and other outlets have debunked a number of false arrest reports made by Real Raw News, including ones involving Hillary Clinton, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Bill Gates, Hunter Biden and White House senior adviser Mike Donilon. Other false claims made by the website include COVID-19 vaccinated American Airlines pilots died during flights and Navy SEALs raided a cargo ship "full of smuggled children."

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that FEMA gave Kentuckians affected by tornadoes vaccines, not crisis supplies. A FEMA spokesperson confirmed to USA TODAY that the claim is "unequivocally false." Real Raw News repeatedly spreads wrong information online.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim that FEMA gave vaccines to tornado victims

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