Altered video twists Kamala Harris statements on COVID vaccines
CLAIM: A video from a speech shows Vice President Kamala Harris repeatedly saying that most people who were hospitalized or recently died from COVID-19 were vaccinated.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Harris did not make these statements, according to the original video of the speech distributed by the White House. In the falsified version of the video, its audio track was manipulated to make it appear Harris said vaccinated people were being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19, when she actually said this was happening among unvaccinated people.
THE FACTS: Manipulated videos purporting to show Harris making negative remarks about coronavirus vaccines have circulated online this week.
Some social media users are sharing the altered video clips seemingly believing they are real, and some have shared them alongside comments undermining expert opinion that the vaccines are safe and effective.
The altered clips of Harris show her promoting coronavirus vaccines but appearing to say that almost everyone sick and dying from the disease is vaccinated. In the doctored clip, Harris appears to state, “Virtually every person who is in the hospital, sick with COVID-19 right now, is vaccinated,” before repeating the sentence again and appearing to add: “Virtually everyone who has recently died from COVID-19 was vaccinated.”
But the clip had been edited to make it sound like she used the word “vaccinated,” when she actually said “unvaccinated.” In the edited version, Harris’ mouth doesn’t match all the words and there is a short, unnatural pause where it appears the word “vaccinated” was inserted into the video in some instances.
The real video of Harris captures her remarks at a vaccine mobilization event in Detroit. It was posted July 12 by The White House YouTube account.
During the address, she states: “Virtually every person who is in the hospital, sick with COVID-19 right now, is unvaccinated. I’m going to repeat that. It’s a fact. Virtually every person who is in the hospital right now, sick with COVID-19 is unvaccinated. And even more regrettably, virtually everyone who has recently died from COVID-19 was unvaccinated. The loss. The tragedy of that loss. Literally every person who has died from COVID-19 that we have recently been seeing was unvaccinated.”
Another version of the doctored Harris video also includes clips of President Joe Biden and White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaking about the vaccines.
The remarks by Biden came from an April 27 address about the country’s COVID-19 response. His words do not appear to have been edited. The clip of Psaki also does not appear to have been edited. It highlights her apparently misspeaking about vaccines during a July 14 press briefing.
Medical experts have continued to maintain that data shows the vaccines are safe and effective against COVID-19.
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.