HHS director speech error fuels false claim vaccines are killing people of color

During a speech about equity and racial justice, the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary mistakenly said that COVID-19 vaccines are killing people of color at twice the rate of white people. The comment has been shared thousands of times on social media and right-wing news sites, despite the White House clarifying that the secretary misspoke. The HHS and Biden administration have been enthusiastic proponents of COVID-19 vaccination and equitable access to vaccines for racial minorities who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The comment was likely meant to emphasize that COVID-19—not the vaccines—has killed Black, Latino, and American Indian people at more than twice the rate of white people.

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