UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid has apologised after saying people should no longer "cower" from coronavirus.
He made the comments in a tweet announcing he had made a "full recovery" from Covid, a week after testing positive, reports the BBC.
Labour accused him of denigrating those who followed the rules, while the founder of a victims' group said his comments were "deeply insensitive".
"It was a poor choice of word and I sincerely apologise," Javid said.
"I was expressing gratitude that the vaccines help us fight back as a society," he said.
In a new tweet, the health secretary said he had deleted his original post, adding: "Like many, I have lost loved ones to this awful virus and would never minimise its impact."
Cower is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as meaning to bend down or move backward with your head down because you are frightened.
His tweet, originally posted on Saturday, said: "Full recovery from Covid a week after testing positive. Symptoms were very mild, thanks to amazing vaccines.
"Please - if you haven't yet - get your jab, as we learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus."
Javid replaced Hancock as health secretary last month after his predecessor stood down.