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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke September 21, 2021

No, health officials aren’t using Census data to target unvaccinated people

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  • The article originated on a site that has previously published many false and unfounded reports. 
  • The Census Bureau didn’t release the data described in the article, according to the federal agency. It would be illegal.

An undated blog post tells the tale of local health officials using data from the Census and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to target unvaccinated residents. But the Census Bureau says this is false.

This story originated on a website that has previously published many false allegations and features a disclaimer that its content is satire. 

"Census data, CDC database expose unvaccinated," the headline says on another site called "Best News Here."  

The post that follows says that on Sept. 11, health department officials in Elliott County, Ky., showed up at a man’s home to discuss his vaccination status. They told him that "2020 Census data showed three people living in the household, and that information, when compared against the CDC’s vaccination database, proved that neither (he) nor his wife and daughter had been vaccinated for COVID-19," the post says.

Elliott County officials did not immediately respond to PolitiFact’s questions about the post.

But Zack Schwartz, a division chief at the Census Bureau, said there are no health officials who have the information described in the post. 

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More importantly, he said, the Census Bureau "will never release household level data." It’s illegal.

"By law, your information is confidential," the agency’s website says. "We do not identify individuals in the data we publish. We only publish statistics."  

CDC spokesperson Scott Pauley also told us that this claim is wrong. "While current efforts are underway to encourage those who have yet to get vaccinated against COVID-19, we are not using private information to determine who is or is not vaccinated in these efforts," Pauley said.

The post first appeared on a website called Real Raw News, which has posted multiple other baseless stories that PolitiFact has debunked

The site also has a disclaimer that says "this website contains humor, parody and satire." 

We rate this post Pants on Fire!

UPDATES, Sept. 22-23: We updated this fact-check with additional comments from spokespersons at the CDC and Census Bureau. It reinforces the rating.

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No, health officials aren’t using Census data to target unvaccinated people

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