Coronavirus Rumor Control

FEMA helps the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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This page has not been translated into Burmese. Visit the Burmese page for resources in that language.

Do your part to the stop the spread of rumors by doing three easy things:

  1. Find trusted sources of information.
  2. Share information from trusted sources.
  3. Discourage others from sharing information from unverified sources.

To find trusted sources, look for information from official public health and safety authorities. Visit the CDC Coronavirus page to find many official sources. Check your state and local government or emergency management websites and social media accounts for trusted information specific to your area. On social media, be sure to check for a blue verified badge next to the account name. This tells you it's an official account.

Stay Informed

Visit the CDC Coronavirus page to get the latest public health information on Coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission have information and resources about how to spot and avoid the latest scams.


Medical Supplies/Masks/PPE

Financial Assistance/Funding

State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Assistance

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Fraud Alert: 
We have received reports of scammers reaching out to people offering to register them for funeral assistance. FEMA has not sent any such notifications and we do not contact people prior to them registering for assistance.
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Rumor: Do vaccines cost money? Can they be purchased online?

Fact: The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to people living in the United States.

However, your vaccination provider may bill your insurance company, Medicaid or Medicare for an administration fee. 

You cannot buy vaccines online.

You should not pay someone to put your name on a list to get the vaccine. You shouldn’t trust anyone who offers to help and then asks for money or personal information. COVID-19 vaccines are available only at established vaccination centers and must be given by trained medical professionals. Visit the CDC Coronavirus page for recommendations for who should get vaccinated first.

Last updated February 17, 2021 | Source: FEMA, CDC

Rumor: Can vaccines give you COVID-19?

Fact: No. None of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, so you cannot get the virus or the disease it causes from the vaccine.

Having symptoms like fever after you get a vaccine is normal and a sign your immune system is learning to fight the virus. Visit the CDC Coronavirus page to learn more about the facts behind COVID-19 vaccines.

Last updated February 17, 2021 | Source: FEMA, CDC

Rumor: Don't the vaccines work? Do they fail to prevent COVID-19?

Fact: Rigorous clinical trials have found that the vaccines currently available in the United States are more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 and are important tools to stop the pandemic.

Additionally, the COVID-19 vaccines may help protect you from getting severely sick even if you do get COVID-19. The more people who get vaccinated, the closer we get to having most people protected from COVID-19.

Get the vaccine when it is available to you.

Last updated February 17, 2021 | Source: FEMA, CDC

Rumor: If I'm vaccinated should I continue to wear a mask and social distance?

Fact: Even if you’re vaccinated, it is possible that you might still get COVID-19 and pass it on to those who are unvaccinated.

Until experts understand more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions, you should continue to follow CDC recommendations on how to protect yourself and others from getting the virus.

Last updated February 17, 2021 | Source: FEMA, CDC

Rumor: It's okay to share my COVID-19 vaccination card on my social media accounts.

Fact: It’s not safe to share your vaccination card on social media because you could be inviting identity theft.

Your vaccination card has information on it including your full name, date of birth, where and when you got your vaccine. When you post it to a social media platform, you may be handing valuable information over to someone who could use it for identity theft.

If you’re excited to share the news that you’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine, share a picture of your vaccine sticker instead.

Last updated February 17, 2021 | Source: FEMA

Rumor: FEMA Determines Who Can Get A COVID-19 Vaccine.

Fact: Each state determines its own vaccination priority groups and procedures. Community vaccination centers are led by states and may be supported by the federal government, including FEMA.

FEMA and its federal partners have provided critical support in the form of personnel, supplies and/or funding to help establish or expand hundreds of state led community vaccination centers and mobile vaccination centers across the nation.

Last updated: March 8, 2021 | Source: FEMA

Medical Supplies/Masks/PPE

Rumor: Are federal "mask police" being used on public transportation to enforce mask regulations?

Fact: Federal agencies and some public and private sector transportation companies are implementing the requirement that people wear masks while traveling or in common areas prior to boarding. Passengers without a mask may be denied entry, boarding, or continued transport. Failure to comply with the mask requirement can result in civil penalties.

The following federal agencies and transportation carriers have released guidance:

Major airlines and municipal transportation companies may have different requirements. Be sure and check before you travel. CDC recommends that people limit travel during the pandemic, and if people do travel, they should wear a mask when doing so. Scientific evidence shows that consistent and universal use of masks on public transportation systems and in transportation hubs will help protect Americans from COVID-19 and help to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Last updated February 17, 2021 | Source: FEMA, CDC

Rumor: I got a free box of masks (or hand sanitizer or any other product) I didn't order. Since I didn't have to pay for it, it's not a big deal.

Fact: The Federal Trade Commission warns that this scam may seem harmless, it’s not.

When a box of seemingly "free" merchandise lands at your door, it could mean that scammers have created an account in your name or taken over your account on online retail sites. They may even create new accounts tied to your address. Letting them post lots of seemingly real reviews.

Additionally, it means that they probably have access to your personal information. Keep an eye on your online shopping accounts. If you spot activity that isn’t yours, report it to the site and Federal Trade Commission right away and change your password for that site.

Last updated February17, 2021 | Source: FEMA, Federal Trade Commission

Rumor: Did FEMA seize supplies from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)?

Fact: FEMA did not and will not divert orders of personal protective equipment from our federal, state and local partners, nor do we have the legal authority to do so. In 2020, FEMA coordinated shipments of more than 4.3 million respirators, one million facial/surgical masks, 1.5 million gloves and 14,000 face shields to VA facilities across the country. FEMA and the VA staff have worked closely together during this response, and they are co-located in the National Response Coordination Center. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the VA issued a joint statement regarding these rumors on April 28, 2020.

Last updated February 17, 2021 | Source: FEMA, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Rumor: Is FEMA seizing medical supplies?

Fact: In 2020, there were misconceptions that FEMA was seizing medical supplies. FEMA is not seizing or taking personal protective equipment (PPE) from state or local governments, hospitals or anyone lawfully engaged in acquiring or distributing PPE.

If a hospital believes this has happened to them, it should be reported to the governor. If a governor believes that this has happened to their supplies, it should be reported to the FEMA Region. The situations below may also lead to incorrect assumptions of FEMA seizing or taking supplies:

  • The Department of Justice (DOJ) has assembled a COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging task force to identify cases of price gouging and may alert FEMA to some shipments and stockpiles of PPE. Under Defense Production Act authorities, FEMA may then compel a price gouger to sell PPE in its control to FEMA at prevailing market prices, not gouging prices.
  • The perception that FEMA is “out-bidding” states and others for supplies is incorrect. Due the use of priority ratings in the Defense Production Act to reallocate critical resources, federal government requirements are put ahead of other orders so we can best assist areas most in need of supplies. As FEMA processes orders through the supply chain we maintain close coordination with states to identify potential bidding conflicts. If a bidding conflict occurs, we work closely with the state or tribe to resolve it in a way that best serves their needs.
  • As part of the current agreement with distributors for Project Airbridge, 50% of the supplies on each international flight are directed by the distributors to customers in areas with the most critical needs for those supplies based on HHS and CDC data. If a company decides to cancel on a state contract in favor of a federal one, we work with the company and the state to resolve the matter in a way that best serves the people.

Last updated February 17, 2021 | Source: FEMA, Department of Justice (DOJ)

Financial Assistance/Funding

Rumor: FEMA is diverting COVID funds towards climate change.

Fact: FEMA is not diverting COVID-19 funds towards climate change. On January 26, 2020 FEMA announced nearly $1 billion in funds to support the ongoing fight against COVID-19. These funds will be used to support vaccination efforts at the state and local level. A news story on the same day conflated the use of the Disaster Relief Fund for COVID-19 response with the use of the fund for a grant program titled Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC). The BRIC program was announced in August 2020 and provides $500 million for mitigation efforts throughout the nation.

Last updated January 26, 2021 | Source: FEMA

Rumor: FEMA is paying hazard pay to anyone who worked during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Fact: The 2020 CARES Act provided unemployment benefits for citizens during the pandemic. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 authorized additional payments of up to $600 per adult and up to $600 for each qualifying child.

Additionally, since FEMA enacted the Lost Wages program in August 2020, billions have been provided to states to assist with their unemployment claims. FEMA funding allows states to provide at least an additional $300 per week to people who lost work due to COVID-19 through their unemployment insurance programs. However, no federal assistance was given in the form of hazard pay, nor has FEMA directly paid individuals.

Last updated February 17, 2021 | Source: FEMA

Rumor: I got a call, text or email saying I could get financial help. Is it legitimate?

Fact: There have been reports that scammers are pretending to be the government, contacting people by robocall, text message, email and other outreach. These scammers say they can get people financial help during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then ask for money or personal information, like your Social Security, bank account or credit card number. This is a SCAM.

Don’t trust anyone who offers financial help and then asks for money or personal information. Federal and local disaster workers do not solicit or accept money. The Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control staff never charge for disaster assistance. Do not disclose information to any unsolicited telephone calls and e-mails from individuals claiming to be IRS or Department of Treasury employees. The first form of communications from the IRS is by mail. 

Visit the Federal Trade Commission scams page for tips to help you avoid scams online, on the phone, by text and through email. If you see a scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

Last updated February17, 2021 | Source: FEMA, FTC

Rumor: Is FEMA suspending rent for people in certain states?

Fact: FEMA is only suspending rent for disaster survivors living in FEMA housing in California through May 12, 2021. FEMA contacts survivors who may be eligible for this program. Other sources of financial relief for renters may be available through state and local governments. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also provides information on housing-related COVID-19 assistance.

Last updated February 17, 2021| Source: FEMA

State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Assistance

Rumor: Is FEMA deploying the military?

Fact: The Department of Defense (DOD) traditionally supports FEMA disaster response through Defense Support to Civil Authorities, which is the process through which U.S. military assets and personnel can assist in missions normally carried out by civilian jurisdictions. Military forces support FEMA disaster response only when state, tribal, or territorial authorities request federal assistance, when all other state, federal, and partner resources are exhausted, and only when the use of military forces is legal, proper, and has no adverse effects on military readiness.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved 1,110 active duty troops on February 5 and an additional 3,610 active duty troops on February 12 FEMA will be partnering with the Department of Defense for additional resources at vaccination centers throughout the country.

Since last year, DOD has supported the COVID-19 response by providing aviation support and help in distributing personal protective equipment from federal stockpiles. DOD also deployed medical teams to support hospital staffs throughout the country.

Last updated February 17, 2021 | Source: FEMA, DOD

Rumor: Is DHS deploying the National Guard?

Fact: On March 22, 2020 President Trump directed the Secretary of Defense to permit full federal reimbursement, by FEMA, for some states’ use of their National Guard forces. The President’s action provides Governors continued command of their National Guard forces, while being federally funded under Title 32. Each state’s National Guard is still under the authority of the Governor and is working in concert with the Department of Defense.

On January 21, 2021 President Biden directed FEMA to provide reimbursement to states, local, tribal and territorial governments and the District of Columbia for the use of their National Guard at a 100% cost share until September 30.

Additionally, on February 2, 2021 President Biden directed FEMA to retroactively reimburse states for 100% of their costs for eligible emergency protective measures including masks, gloves, emergency feeding actions, sheltering at risk populations and mobilization of the National Guard.

Last updated February 17, 2021 | Source: FEMA, National Guard