FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL—House Republicans sent a letter Tuesday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, demanding answers about a new classification system that allows the CDC to record the reasons why Americans refused to take one of the COVID-19 vaccines.
“Naturally, we are concerned about the federal government gathering data on Americans’ personal choices—data that serves no sincere purpose in treating patients’ medical conditions—and how it may be used in the future,” the Republican lawmakers, led by Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote.
The House Republicans raised the alarm about the CDC’s recently codified International Classification of Disease, or ICD, codes related to COVID-19 vaccination status, which are scheduled to take effect April 1. The codes enable the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect data on the reasons Americans refuse to take the vaccines.
The letter lists the reasons in the new ICD code:
The reasons listed include: immunization not carried out because of contraindication (Z28.0-), immunization not carried out because of patient decision for reasons of belief or group pressure (Z28.1), immunization not carried out because of patient decision for other and unspecified reason (Z28.2- ), or immunization not carried out for other reason (Z28.8-).
“The ICD system was originally intended to classify diagnoses and reasons for visiting the doctor, not to conduct surveillance on the personal medical decisions of American citizens,” Roy and the other Republicans wrote. “Given the profound uncertainty and distrust felt by many Americans toward the CDC and the medical apparatus at large, it is important for the CDC to make clear the intent and purpose of these new codes.”
The World Health Organization owns and publishes the International Classification of Disease, authorizing the U.S. government to modify it to classify morbidity from inpatient and outpatient records, physician offices, and most National Center for Health Statistics surveys, according to the CDC.
By sending the letter, the Republican lawmakers demanded answers to five questions regarding the database:
- Why did the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) decide to start gathering data on why Americans chose not to take the COVID-19 vaccine?
- How do CDC and NCHS intend to use these new COVID-19 vaccination ICD codes?
- What steps are the CDC and NCHS taking to ensure that Americans’ private health information contained in the ICD system is protected?
- Will the CDC and NCHS confirm that they have not, will not, and cannot create a database of Americans based on their COVID-19 vaccination status?
- Can the CDC and NCHS confirm that private companies do not have access to lists of Americans’ COVID-19 vaccination status through the ICD system, or any other database overseen by the CDC and NCHS?
In addition to Roy, nine other Republicans signed the letter: Reps. Josh Breechen, Okla.; Greg Steube, Fla.; Andy Ogles, Tenn.; Bill Posey, Fla.; Mary Miller, Ill.; Dan Bishop, N.C.; Andy Biggs, Ariz.; Keith Self, Texas; and Lauren Boebert, Colo.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, all federal agencies must “meet the requirements of the Privacy Act of 1974, which restricts what information about individual citizens— including any personal health information—can be shared with other agencies and with the public.”
Although the government cannot force civilian Americans to take a COVID-19 vaccine, private institutions such as employers, colleges, and airlines may demand vaccination. Thousands of members of the U.S. military requested religious exemptions, but most of these have been denied. In December, the Defense Department confirmed to The Daily Signal that 8,424 service members have been discharged for refusing to take the jab.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health agencies long have faced criticism for their statements and actions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, confessed that the health establishment did not initially recommend masks to the general public, in order to prevent panic buying. Critics also claim health agencies overstated the effectiveness of the vaccines.
Citing health agencies such as the CDC, social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter acted to suppress content about COVID-19 if it contradicted the government’s narrative. A Facebook staffer admitted that the company suppressed “often-true content” to combat “vaccine hesitancy.”
The CDC did not respond immediately to The Daily Signal’s request for comment on the International Classification of Disease code. This article will be updated with any response.
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