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Video clip misrepresents Biden’s comments on hurricane preparedness

September 15, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: A video clip shows Biden stating that individuals should get vaccinated to protect themselves against hurricanes.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video clip, first posted on TikTok, was edited to remove key portions of Biden’s comments. A review of his full statement shows he said getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is a vital step in hurricane preparedness, necessary to protect people should they have to evacuate or stay in shelters.

THE FACTS: Biden made his comments before an Aug. 10 White House briefing from FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell, representatives from the Department of Homeland Security and COVID-⁠19 response teams. The briefing was in anticipation of what Biden called the peak of hurricane season in the Atlantic region.

In the video segment, shared on Instagram Tuesday, Biden says, “Let me be clear: 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.” The video then cuts to insulting comments from the movie “Billy Madison.”

Underneath the video, text was also added. “Get vaccinated to protect yourselves from hurricanes y’all,” the post said, adding a laughing emoji.

But the excerpt and caption mischaracterize Biden’s comments, which looked at the importance of vaccines in reducing risks in the event of a natural disaster. He didn’t say getting vaccinated would protect against hurricanes.

In his comments he highlighted how crises can compound one another as the Delta variant spreads, with wildfires in the West and peak Atlantic hurricane season approaching.

“Everything is more complicated if you’re not vaccinated and a hurricane or a natural disaster hits,” Biden said after encouraging individuals to get vaccinated. “If you wind up having to evacuate, if you wind up having to stay in a shelter, you don’t want to add COVID-19 to the list of dangers that you’re going to be confronting.”

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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.