The White House on May 13 corrected its false claim that COVID-19 vaccines weren’t available when President Joe Biden took office but neglected to delete the claim.
The White House’s official Twitter account posted the claim earlier in the day, writing that “when President Biden took office, millions were unemployed and there was no vaccine available.”
Millions of Americans received a COVID-19 vaccine by the time Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021. Biden was among them. The Democrat got two doses, a full primary regimen, of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine before being sworn in.
Numerous individuals noted the false statement including Jeryl Bier, editor of Pluribus.
“‘No vaccine available’? What was president-elect Biden injected with? Sugar water?” Bier wrote, sharing a post from the White House dated Jan. 13, 2021, that showed Biden getting his second dose.
“So when is the Minister of Truth going to flag this?” another user wrote, referring to the head of the Biden administration’s recently announced Disinformation Governance Board.
Hours after posting the false claim, the White House acknowledged it was not true.
“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,” it added.
The original claim was not deleted, and users cannot see the update unless they go to the White House’s timelines.
Experts recommend deleting posts with false information when issuing corrections so the information does not continue spreading.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were given emergency use authorization by U.S. regulators in December 2020, kicking off a vaccination push that continues to this day across the Trump and Biden administrations.
Originally promoted as highly effective against both infection and hospitalization, the shots have gone down in effectiveness over time.