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White House Corrects False Claim About COVID-19 Vaccine

Featured, Government

White House briefing | Image by Maxx-Studio

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On May 12, the official White House Twitter account tweeted a false claim about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“When President Biden took office, millions were unemployed and there was no vaccine available,” the tweet said.

However, by the time President Joe Biden was sworn in on January 20, 2021, about 3.5 million people were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. About 19 million people had received at least one dose, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Biden himself received his second dose nine days before being sworn in.

Several people, including Pluribus editor Jeryl Bier, called out the erroneous statement.

“‘No vaccine available?’ What was president-elect Biden injected with? Sugar water?” Bier asked while sharing a White House post from January 13, 2021, showing Biden receiving his second vaccine dose.

The first doses administered in the U.S. outside of trials were on December 14, 2020, while then-President Donald Trump was still in office. On Biden’s inauguration day, the U.S. averaged more than 1 million doses administered a day.

The White House corrected the statement and acknowledged it was not true a day later.

“We previously misstated that vaccines were unavailable in January 2021,” the White House said. “We should have said that they were not widely available.”

“Vaccines became available shortly before the President came into office. Since then, he’s responsible for fully vaccinating over 200 million people,” the statement further claimed.

In December, the vaccine was generally restricted to only health care personnel and other essential workers, residents of long-term care facilities, and seniors. It was not until April 2021 that adults all were eligible to receive the vaccine.

While many called out the White House Twitter account for the vaccine portion of the tweet, the second part of the post may also be misleading. The White House claimed millions were unemployed when Biden took office, but millions of people are still unemployed today.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 5.9 million people were unemployed in April 2022.

However, the unemployment rate has fallen since Biden took office from 6.4% in January 2021 to 3.6% in April 2022.

The tweet with the false claim about the vaccine has not been deleted.

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