POLITICS

Texas Lt. Gov. Falsely Blames Black People For State's Low Vaccination Rates

Dan Patrick is under fire for racist — and untrue — comments he made to Fox News host Laura Ingraham Thursday night.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick should be trying to find ways to get more Texans vaccinated against COVID-19, but he seems more interested in finding scapegoats.

During an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Thursday, Patrick blamed Texas’ low vaccination rates on the Lone Star state’s Black population ― oh, and on Democrats.

“Democrats like to blame Republicans” for low vaccination rates, Patrick complained before falsely saying that “the biggest group in most states are African-Americans who have not been vaccinated.”

“The last time I checked, over 90% of them vote for Democrats in their major cities and major counties,” he added.

Black people are not, as Patrick claimed, the biggest group of unvaccinated people in most states. Texas has 5.6 million unvaccinated white people, versus 1.9 million unvaccinated Black people, according to the Texas Tribune. A Kaiser Family Foundation report published this week found that white adults account for the largest share of unvaccinated adults in the U.S.

And while Patrick said that Republicans aren’t going to force the vaccine on people who don’t want it, he also blasted Democrats for “doing nothing for the African-American community that has a significant high number of unvaccinated.”

As of Aug. 13, Black Texans, who make up 11.8% of Texas’ population, accounted for 16.4% of the state’s coronavirus cases and 10.2% of coronavirus-related deaths, according to The Washington Post.

Black and Hispanic people are still less likely than white people to have received a vaccine, leaving them disproportionately at risk during the pandemic. There are various systemic reasons for this. But the Kaiser Family Foundation says that unvaccinated adults in those communities are also far more open to receiving a vaccine than unvaccinated white adults: Only 26% of unvaccinated Black and Hispanic adults said they will “definitely not” get a shot, versus 65% of unvaccinated white adults.

Twitter users had strong reactions to Patrick’s claims:

This is not the first very bad take Patrick has had during the pandemic. In April 2020, he suggested “there are more important things than living” when he pushed to reopen the U.S. economy despite warnings from public health experts.