Fact Check

Are 'Vaccine Bandits' Taking Over Los Angeles Streets?

There's a predictable answer to the question "why is nobody else talking about this?"

Published Aug. 11, 2021

"Vaccine bandits" are forcing COVID-19 vaccinations onto unsuspecting people in Los Angeles.

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In August 2021, a video about "vaccine bandits" forcing COVID-19 vaccinations onto unsuspecting people in Los Angeles racked up millions of views on TikTok.

This video does not contain credible information about "vaccine bandits." This video was created as a joke. TikTok user "Graysworld" writes in the account bio that videos contain "scripted chaos."

In the bandit video, "Graysworld" presents a supposed newspaper clipping about these vaccine bandits and images that supposedly show the bandits in action. This newspaper clipping is not real, and these images do not show "vaccine bandits."

The second image, for example, which shows a man standing in a doorway, comes from a piece of security camera footage taken in Canada in 2017. This footage has nothing to do with vaccinations.

Several other things indicate this viral video was created as a joke, not as a genuine news report. As mentioned above, the TikTok page states it contains "scripted" chaos. In other words, these scenarios are made up. Graysworld also provided a link to this alleged newspaper clipping. Instead of directing interested parties to a news story about "vaccine bandits," however, the link led to a video of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up."

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.