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Press Release Published:Feb 25, 2022

Scalise & Comer: CDC’s Secrecy Erodes Americans’ Trust

Select Subcommittee and Oversight Committee Republicans call on the CDC to produce all data gathered over the past year that it has hidden from the public

WASHINGTON—Republican Whip and Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Ranking Member Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), joined by Republican lawmakers on both panels, today called on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky to produce all COVID-19 data collected over the past year that the agency has hidden from the public. Recent reporting reveals the agency has withheld critical data on boosters, hospitalizations, and wastewater surveillance.

“House Oversight and Reform Committee Republicans and Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Republicans are conducting oversight of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to withhold vital data and information about COVID-19. According to the New York Times, the CDC failed to publish essential information about COVID-19 hospitalizations, at least in part, to control the narrative around vaccine effectiveness. States and localities could have used the withheld data to better inform their efforts to mitigate the virus’ spread in their area. The decision to hide data from the public prevented a more targeted response, likely costing lives and causing unnecessary economic harm. This failure to be transparent further erodes the public’s trust in the CDC,” wrote the Republican lawmakers.

Over the past year, the CDC collected data on vaccine and booster shot effectiveness, breakthrough infections, and wastewater analysis but delayed its release, released only small portions of the data, or none at all. A CDC spokesperson admitted the agency has been slow to release the data routinely collected because releasing breakthrough infection information may be misinterpreted as the vaccines being ineffective. The CDC also blamed outdated systems for its inability to release data in a timely fashion, despite receiving more than $1 billion to modernize its systems.

“This withheld information is critical to ushering in our post-pandemic normal. Detailed data enables better decision-making. For instance, wastewater surveillance nationwide would spot outbreaks and emerging variants; booster shot effectiveness data would inform who should receive booster shots; and tracking breakthrough infections would allow Americans to make their own informed risk analysis. The American people deserve transparency and accountability. The New York Times new report adds to the existing skepticism and public distrust of much of the CDC’s current COVID-19 guidance. As part of your ongoing efforts to return credibility to the CDC, Republicans request that you produce to the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and the Oversight and Reform Committee all information collected over the course of the last 12 months of the pandemic by March 11, 2022,” concluded the Republican lawmakers.

The letter to Dr. Walensky can be found here.