By Zachary Stieber
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and three other top federal health agencies are refusing to provide employee COVID-19 vaccination data for 2022.
The CDC and the other agencies, including the one that is forcing virtually all health care workers to get a vaccine, say their most current employee vaccination data is from Dec. 3, 2021.
The Epoch Times asked the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), through media requests and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, to provide vaccination data current through March 2022, including the number of unvaccinated workers and the number of workers who received an exemption to President Joe Biden’s federal worker mandate, which is blocked by courts as of January.
The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for virtually all Americans 5 and older. Its guidance has been used to justify mandates across the country, including on the federal level.
An official at the agency, which has 12,045 employees, pointed to the December 2021 figures. At that time, 96.4 percent of the CDC’s employees had gotten vaccinated and another 3.2 percent were in compliance with the mandate, or had pending or approved exemption requests.
“Please note that this is the most recent and most complete data available and some data elements that you requested are not available,” Roger Andoh, the CDC’s FOIA officer, told The Epoch Times in an email.
The CDC’s FOIA public liaison, Bruno Viana, did not return a voicemail. The CDC’s media office did not respond to a request for the information.
An appeal questioning whether the CDC properly responded to the FOIA request was lodged and is pending.
Several senators tried getting vaccination figures in November 2021 when CDC Director Rochelle Walensky testified on Capitol Hill before the Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor & Pensions. Walensky twice dodged questions about the matter.
“It’s been two years, and federal agencies and employees are still not back to work. The CDC refuses to be transparent. It is past time for the government to reopen and start serving Americans again,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a member of the panel and a doctor, told The Epoch Times via email after reviewing the FOIA response.
The other three agencies, also part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), also declined to provide figures current from this year or list how many exemption requests were approved.
The FDA, which authorized the COVID-19 vaccines, pointed to the same press release in response to a FOIA request. “We do not have more recent information,” Sarah Kotler, director of the administration’s Division of Freedom of Information, told The Epoch Times in an email. She said the agency “stopped collecting the information” after the latest update but declined to say why, directing queries to the FDA’s media office. That office, in turn, referred queries to the White House Office of Budget and Management, which did not respond to a request for comment.
A CMS spokesperson, meanwhile, pointed to a different release, issued Dec. 9, 2021, which said approximately 97.1 percent of HHS employees had gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while another 2.5 percent had a pending or approved exemption but didn’t provide updated data for offices within HHS.
The spokesperson for the centers, which is in charge of one of the few federal mandates that haven’t been blocked by courts, said the information is “the latest publicly available data.”
About 96 percent of workers at NIH are fully vaccinated, 1 percent are partially vaccinated, and 3 percent have either filed a medical or religious exception, are not vaccinated, or have not reported their vaccination status, an NIH spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email.
Those were the same percentages given in December 2021.
The NIH and CMS have not provided responses to FOIA requests seeking the most up-to-date information. HHS didn’t respond to an inquiry.
Fully vaccinated means a person has received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson jab. Partially vaccinated refers to people who have only gotten one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or who have gotten a full regimen but two weeks have not elapsed since their final shot.
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