NSW Police and Australian Defence Force conduct Public Health Order checks at a home in Sydney. 

The Australian army isn’t forcibly vaccinating NSW residents

AAP FactCheck August 3, 2021

The Statement

A Facebook post claims the military and NSW Health are “forcing themselves” into people’s homes to vaccinate people with an “experimental liquid”.

The July 22 post by an Australian page features a photo of a TV screen showing a Sky News Australia program with text added to the screenshot stating: “The army & NSW Heath (sic) to force themselves into people’s homes.”

At the bottom of the image, it reads, “.. we know they’re in their homes..”.

The post’s caption claims: “NOW, they’re threatening you with the army at your door step to stab you with an experimental liquid. Remember they KNOW you’re home, because they locked you up.”

The caption links to a website which contains a snippet from Sky News Australia with a voiceover stating: “The army and NSW Health to go door-to-door and vaccinate the 200,000 residents of Fairfield. We know they’re in their homes. Or at the very least give everyone going to the Fairfield testing stations the opportunity to have a jab while they’re there”.

At the time of writing, the Facebook post had been viewed more than 25,000 times. It was also reshared here.

The Facebook post
 The army and NSW Health will force themselves into homes to administer vaccines, a post claims. 

The Analysis

Contrary to the post’s claim, the Australian army and NSW Health staff are not forcing their way into people’s homes to vaccinate them against COVID-19.

The video linked to the post has been edited to remove the context surrounding the dialogue. Rather than showing an announcement or “threat” from the state government, as suggested in the post, the unedited footage reveals the dialogue came from a journalist describing a question he posed to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

The video clip is taken from a July 21 TV cross on Sky News Australia to the station’s political editor, Andrew Clennell, who provides commentary on the COVID-19 situation in NSW and lockdown in Sydney.

Clennell talks about how the lockdown has not had the desired results before prefacing the quote used in the clip, describing a question he had posed to Ms Berejiklian about what further actions could be considered to reduce transmission of the virus (video mark 3min 47sec).

“And I put the question: Is it time for more radical action? We revealed yesterday that the area with the most COVID-19 cases in the country, the Fairfield local government area, has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with just 38 per cent of residents over 50 having had their first dose compared to 60 per cent of the national population,” he said.

“Is it time for the army and New South Wales Health to go door to door and vaccinate the 200,000 residents of Fairfield? We know they’re in their homes, or at the very least, give everyone going to the Fairfield testing stations the opportunity to have a jab while they’re there?”

The clip does not include any mention of the army and health officials forcing themselves into people’s homes, however it goes on to show footage of Clennell asking Ms Berejiklian at a press conference if it is time “to get hubs into Fairfield, to get vaccinations into Fairfield”.

In reply, Ms Berejiklian said the government had set up a vaccination hub in Fairfield but the issue preventing more people from getting inoculated was a lack of vaccine supply.

A NSW Health spokesman told AAP FactCheck in a phone interview that the post’s claim was “not correct”.

On July 29, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller made a formal request to the federal government for Australian Defence Force (ADF) assistance with the police’s COVID-19 lockdown operation.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton said in a statement on the same day that up to 300 ADF personnel would assist NSW authorities with COVID-19 restriction compliance measures.

In an interview on ABC’s RN Breakfast, Mr Fuller explained that the ADF’s role included partnering with NSW police officers and would increase the number of compliance checks across Sydney.

“(The ADF personnel) don’t come with powers, and they won’t be carrying firearms … they’ll allow us to double that compliance checking within a couple of days,” he said (audio mark 2min 19sec).

A spokeswoman for the Department of Defence told AAP FactCheck that Australian Defence Force (ADF) members had already been assisting the NSW government in “quarantine compliance monitoring at hotels and airports” as part of Operation COVID-19 ASSIST.

“The ADF is not administering COVID-19 vaccines to the Australian public. ADF personnel previously supported administration of COVID-19 vaccines in aged and disability care facilities,” she said in an email.

The Verdict

NSW Health and Australian military forces are not forcing their way into people’s homes to forcibly vaccinate residents, both agencies confirmed to AAP FactCheck.

The video clip on which the post is based has been selectively edited to remove its context. The unedited video shows that the suggestion of using army personnel to vaccinate some Sydney residents was made by a journalist describing a question he had posed to the NSW premier, not a government announcement or proposal.

False – Content that has no basis in fact.

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