A new viral TikTok video is spreading misinformation about a government program one woman claims would send unvaccinated people to a quarantine “prison.”
In the TikTok video posted on July 15, the woman in the video claims she and her son, who is too young to be vaccinated against COVID-19, would be placed into a quarantine site for not receiving the vaccine.
A backdrop of the video shows a news article titled: “DHS TRAINING COURSE: PREPARE FOR MASS PUBLIC QUARANTINE OF UNVACCINATED RURAL AMERICANS.”
Warning: Video contains profanity
The article in the background of the video claims the Department of Homeland Security has a training program to prepare law enforcement, health care officials and government employees to force unvaccinated individuals into quarantine.
The woman in the video says she will not be sending her son to a public school, claiming it will be a “setup” for someone to take him from her after learning she is not vaccinated.
At the time of publication, the video had more than 120,000 likes and over 5,000 comments.
Verify viewer Susan asked: Does the Department of Homeland Security have a training program geared toward the mass quarantine for those who haven’t received the COVID-19 vaccine?
No, there isn’t a specific program in place to mass quarantine those who haven’t received the COVID-19 vaccine. The training module referenced in the TikTok video has actually been provided to emergency responders since at least 2014.
WHAT WE FOUND
The article the TikTok video references is a course from the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC). It was designed to help rural communities in an emergency.
The eight-hour course mentioned in the article was “designed to provide the knowledge necessary to begin planning for situations requiring the isolation and quarantine (I&Q) of a large portion of a local, rural population,” the RDPC course description states.
The RDPC is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) training provider, according to its website.
“This training will provide public- and private-sector emergency managers, community policy makers, public health, and public safety personnel with the general knowledge necessary to begin planning for situations requiring the isolation and quarantine of a large portion of a local, rural population,” the description continues. “A rural community’s ability to collectively respond to an emergency requiring isolation and quarantine is not only essential to minimizing the negative impacts to the community at risk, but also to minimizing the long-term negative economic and health effects on the American public as a whole.”
VERIFY found mention of this specific course on Twitter as early as Sept. 2014, when the Cullman County (Alabama) Emergency Management Agency tweeted about hosting the training.
In Oct. 2014, the RDPC tweeted about the program being hosted in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Both of these tweets are years ahead of when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, and thus before a vaccine was introduced.
There is also no specific mention of COVID-19 in the full course overview, but module four does focus on “communication structures and strategies to be implemented in the event of a public health emergency requiring isolation and quarantine.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s recommendations for those who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 include continuing to wear a mask, avoid large crowds, practice social distancing and to get vaccinated.
SOURCE OF THE MISINFORMATION
One of the earliest claims uncovered by VERIFY, alleging that the RDPC training is geared towards the unvaccinated community, came from an InfoWars article published on July 11.
The article connects the RDPC training module to COVID-19, stating: “A Department of Homeland Security training program has provided a model for the federal government to normalize mass public quarantine measures despite the fact infections and deaths are dropping in the U.S.”
“A website by the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC), a training provider for the Department of Homeland Security, outlines in a program called ‘MGT 433 ISOLATION & QUARANTINE FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES’ how to begin rounding up unvaccinated American citizens for mass quarantine centers,” the article stated.
According to Crowdtangle, a public insights tool owned and operated by Facebook, the InfoWars article was shared at least five times across public Facebook pages, despite Facebook in 2018 announcing InfoWars and its founder Alex Jones would be removed from the platform for violating community standards.
InfoWars-connected profiles were also removed from Twitter in 2018, but the article was tweeted 47 times, according to CrowdTangle. (Note: Crowdtangle only provides a seven-day lookback on data; the results here are only from July 12 through July 19.)
Versions of the same article were shared across at least lesser-known conspiracy-based websites, and collectively the claim has been shared hundreds of times across social media.
The viral TikTok video from @crazyharleyquinn81 shows a screenshot of the SHTFplan.com article as the backdrop of the video. The woman in the video also mentions H.R. 6666, claiming the legislation would allow the government to find out a person’s vaccination status. In May 2020, VERIFY confirmed the bill would authorize additional funding for contact tracing and testing, but the bill never mentioned a vaccine.