Rep. Chip Roy (TX-21) demanded answers from CDC Director Rochelle Walensky regarding recent New York Times reports that the CDC intentionally withheld data on hospitalization and vaccination status because it could be “misinterpreted.”
“If true, this stunning revelation only further erodes the extreme lack of trust the American people have in your agency,” wrote Rep. Roy to Walensky. “Under your leadership, Americans have been rightly confused and exhausted by myriad policy reversals, politically motivated falsehoods, and bureaucratic overreach.”
According to the New York Times report, the CDC has been routinely collecting information on breakthrough infections in vaccinated Americans since the Covid vaccines were first rolled out, but has been reluctant to make those figures public because they might be misinterpreted as the vaccines being ineffective.
Rep Roy’s letter also questioned the CDC’s sudden reversal of mask guidance that came just days before President Biden’s first State of the Union address, pointing out Walensky’s blatant hypocrisy and politically motivated falsehoods.
The letter demands copies of documents and correspondence from the CDC and the White House related to the masking policy reversal and the decision to intentionally withhold vaccine and hospitalization data.
Full text of the letter can be found below and at the link here:
We write to you seeking answers regarding troubling reports of your agency intentionally withholding data related to COVID-19 hospitalizations.
As recently reported by the New York Times, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allegedly withheld data, such as data on COVID-19 hospitalizations by vaccination status, because agency personnel stated the data may be misinterpreted. In fact, according to the New York Times:
“…the C.D.C. has been routinely collecting information since the Covid vaccines were first rolled out last year, according to a federal official familiar with the effort. The agency has been reluctant to make those figures public, the official said, because they might be misinterpreted as the vaccines being ineffective.”
If true, this stunning revelation only further erodes the lack of trust the American people have in your agency. Under your leadership, Americans have been rightly confused and exhausted by myriad policy reversals, politically motivated falsehoods, and bureaucratic overreach.
For example, prior to becoming Director of the CDC, in October 2020, you were a co-author of a letter in The Lancet that stated, “…there is no evidence for lasting protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 following natural infection.” However, now, your agency has published a report showing that natural immunity was six times stronger than COVID-19 vaccination during the Delta variant.
Similarly, during an interview from March 29, 2021, you stated, “…we can kind of almost see the end. We’re vaccinating so very fast, our data from the CDC today suggests, you know, that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don`t get sick…” After so many breakthrough cases, in August, you said regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, “…what they can’t do anymore is prevent transmission.”
On July 30, 2021, after facing criticism for your suggestion that the Biden Administration was looking into a federal vaccine mandate, you took to social media to clear the air. You tweeted, “To clarify: There will be no nationwide mandate. I was referring to mandates by private institutions and portions of the federal government. There will be no federal mandate.” That assurance given to the American people turned out to be an egregious lie.
Your agency also changed the definition of “vaccination.” As late as August 2021, the CDC defined vaccination as: “The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.” The current definition, however, is “The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce protection from a specific disease.
Further, on May 13, 2021, the CDC announced that those who were fully vaccinated did not need to wear a mask. Two months later, this guidance was reversed in July 2021. Days before the State of the Union, your agency updated its guidance again on masks, easing mask requirements for most Americans. This reversal also came one day after Impact Research provided a memo suggesting if Democrats continue down their current path of failed policies on COVID-19, “they risk paying dearly for it in November.”
After two years of the pandemic, Americans are rightly fed up with your agency’s overreach into their lives and the arbitrary, ever-changing policies. Please provide a separate response to each question below, rather than a narrative response, by April 1, 2022.
1. What date will the CDC fully publish its data related to hospitalization by vaccination status? Please provide copies of that data.
2. Please provide details of any communication, including copies of correspondence, related to your agency’s decision to withhold certain data on COVID-19 hospitalizations from publication.
3. Did any White House personnel request or recommend a change in the CDC’s indoor masking guidance that was reflected in the most recent February 25, 2022 guidance? If so, please provide details of that communication, including copies of correspondence.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Member of Congress