Are COVID-19 vaccines "killing people of color at twice the rate of white people," as Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said on April 14, 2022? No, that's not true: There's no evidence the vaccines are killing people in general, so there's no evidence that they're killing people of color at a disproportionately higher rate. Becerra misspoke when he made the comment, a White House spokesman told Lead Stories. Becerra is a big public proponent of vaccines.
The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on April 20, 2022. It includes a link to an article and a caption that reads:
U.S. Health and Human Services Director Xavier Becerra said Covid vaccines are killing people of color at twice the rate of white people.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Apr 22 17:45:21 2022 UTC)
Becerra did say that vaccines are killing people of color at about two times the rate of white Americans during the White House Convening on Equity on April 14, 2022. His comments can be heard in the video below:
Lead Stories reached out to the White House to ask about Becerra's comments. In an email on April 22, 2022, a spokesman wrote that Becerra misspoke. The secretary likely meant to say that COVID kills people of color at around twice the rate as white people, which is more or less true, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Also, according to the CDC, there is no evidence that COVID vaccines are killing people. More than 569 million doses of the vaccines were administered in the United States between December 14, 2020, and April 18, 2022.
The CDC reviews reports of death following vaccination and has identified just nine deaths causally associated with the J&J/Janssen COVID vaccine. The agency continues to recommend that people get the COVID vaccine as soon as possible.
Becerra takes a similar stance. He is a big proponent of COVID vaccines and has spoken publicly in support of them countless times. For example, in January 2022, he said: "Let's get more people vaccinated, let's get more people boosted, and together, we can put an end to this pandemic."
Lead Stories reached out to the Department of Health and Human Services to ask about Becerra's comments. We will update this story, as appropriate, if we receive a response.