GOP Sen. Johnson blasts CDC's Rochelle Walensky not publicizing adverse vaccine effects

"You have failed to explain why the CDC made inconsistent statements about the data it generates to track these adverse events."

Updated: September 12, 2022 - 11:42pm

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Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson condemned Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky for failing to substantively respond to inquiries into the agency's monitoring of adverse COVID-19 vaccine effects.

Johnson initially wrote to Walensky in both June and July asking as to the agency's methods for monitoring vaccine side effects. He received a reply on Sept. 2 in which Walensky largely discussed the use of the data mining method the CDC employed. She said the CDC used Empirical Bayesian (EB) data mining as its primary method and only used the proportional reporting ratio (PRR) to verify EB results.

The Wisconsin Republican on Monday, in turn, sent a response in which he called Walensky's letter "inadequate and unacceptable."

Johnson acknowledged that he had asked about data mining methods that Walensky wrote about, but noted that she failed to address his question about inconsistent statements CDC officials previously made about the agency's methodology.

"You have failed to explain why the CDC made inconsistent statements about the data it generates to track these adverse events," he wrote. "Moreover, even though I clearly asked CDC to provide the data that it supposedly generated to track vaccine adverse events, you failed to do so."

"This data should be made public immediately to better inform the American people about risks of specific adverse events relating to the COVID-19 vaccines," he continued. "Your lack of clarity calls into question whether CDC has and continues to sufficiently monitor COVID-19 vaccine adverse events."

Johnson concluded his letter with a string of questions asking about the timing and rationale of the CDC's decision to use EB over PRR when tracking side effects.

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