During a House hearing on antitrust, commercial, and administrative law this Wednesday, Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz grilled witness Jacqueline Patterson over a tweet last year where she joked that vaccines distributed in white neighborhoods were safer than neighborhoods where people of color live.
During his questioning, Gaetz, referenced Patterson's master's degree in public health and sarcastically asked her if there's a "different chemical composition for vaccines in white neighborhoods" as opposed to non-white neighborhoods.
Patterson dismissed the question, saying she had no basis to "even begin to evaluate that question."
Gaetz then referenced a tweet from Patterson that she posted in December of 2020 where she wrote: "My COVID-19 vaccination plan: Go to the whitest neighborhood I can find to make sure my dose comes from a white batch. #TuskegeeLivesOn #SurvivalTacticsInaRacistSociety #DodgingGenocide #GrimHumor #OnlySlightlyJoking."
Patterson replied that the tweet was meant to be humorous but acknowledged that the humor was also meant to be "dark" in terms of "the reality of the Tuskegee experiments and so forth in our community."
"So there's a whole strain of commentary that we had following from that about how it was a shame that we even have to think in these types of terms," Patterson said.
Gaetz then referenced a follow-up tweet on the same post from Patterson, where she wrote that she was "barely joking, because it's real."
"Are white batches real?" Gaetz pressed.
"As I said before ... the reference was putting in context this larger conversation about the differential access to affordable and quality healthcare in our communities," she replied. "It shouldn't be take literally."
Gaetz didn't let up.
"You gave testimony today about your concern over the monopolistic sharing of information, about the criticality of the input of public interest groups, about how we have to stop the politicization of agency decisions -- do you think it damages public health and do you think it damages the credibility of public interest groups like yours when you put out that your personal vaccination plan is to go to the whitest neighborhood so that you can ensure that your dose comes from the whitest batch?" he asked.
"Absolutely not," Patterson replied.
Watch the full exchange below:
Matt Gaetz, Witness Clash Over Her Humor-Intended Tweet About Getting 'White Batch' Of Vaccine www.youtube.com