HOUSTON – In the wake of Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s controversial statements on Fox, KPRC 2 is digging further into the claim about Black people and vaccination in the U.S.
Here’s what we found out.
In an interview with host Laura Ingraham of Fox News show “The Ingraham Angle,” Patrick said this: “The COVID is spreading, particularly -- most of the numbers are with the unvaccinated, and the Democrats like to blame Republicans on that.”
“Well, the biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated,” he continued. “The last time I checked over 90 percent of them vote for Democrats in their major cities and major counties, so it’s up to the Democrats to get, just as that it’s up to Republicans, to try to get as many people vaccinated.”
On Friday, Patrick responded with this message on Twitter: “Last night on Laura Ingraham I was asked about Democrat attacks on Texas’ COVID-19 response. I shared with her information recently reported in both the Houston Chronicle and Texas Tribune, as well as on the Texas Department of State Health Services website. Not surprisingly, Democrat social media trolls were up late misstating the facts and fanning the flames of their lies. Federal and State data clearly indicate that Black vaccination rates are significantly lower than white or Hispanic rates. Democrats continue to play politics with people’s lives, pandering to rather than serving certain constituencies. Republican leadership will continue to encourage vaccination without mandates in all populations.”
The rates of vaccination and the population of unvaccinated Black people in states are two different things. Patrick’s statements refer to the vaccination rate, but do not point out that the population of Black people in states -- such as in Texas -- is much lower than white people in the state.
As the Texas Tribune reported, there are an estimated 5.6 million white people who are eligible and unvaccinated, while the same figure is 1.9 million for Black people, who make up a far smaller part of the overall population. The figure is 4.9 million for Hispanic people, whose population is now nearly as large as the non-Hispanic white population in Texas.
In Patrick’s statement Friday afternoon, he stated that data “clearly indicate that Black vaccination rates are significantly lower than White or Hispanic rates.”
Information on the rates of fully vaccinated individuals categorized by race is publicly available and updated regularly on the CDC’s website. As of August 20, 2021, the rate of fully vaccinated Black people in the United States compared to the U.S. population in that demographic category was lower than the same comparison in Hispanic and white populations.
However, Patrick’s Friday statement did not address the claim he made after being asked about the spread of COVID-19 in Texas that African Americans are the “biggest group” who are unvaccinated.
Like the Texas Tribune, KPRC 2 deems Patrick’s original remark about the “biggest group” is false. We’re giving Patrick’s claim a “not true” rating.