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A Facebook post with a video clip of a Senate committee hearing on the U.S. COVID-19 response misrepresents what CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said about vaccination among agency employees.
Walensky did not say that her employees are avoiding or refusing vaccination.
As of Dec. 8, 2021, 97.1% of employees in the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the CDC, had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
A Facebook post making the rounds misrepresents what a leading public health official said in a Senate hearing about vaccination rates at her agency.
"Biden's CDC Director ADMITS Her Own Employees Aren't Getting Vaccinated" against COVID-19, the Dec. 29 post says, citing an accompanying video clip.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The three-minute video clip is an excerpt from an over three-hour hearing on Nov. 4, 2021, before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee where Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified alongside other top U.S. health officials on the nation's COVID-19 response. Part of this response includes President Biden's Sept. 9, 2021 executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccination for federal employees, with a Nov. 22 deadline for full vaccination.
In the clip, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., asks Walensky what percentage of CDC employees are vaccinated. Walensky responded that her agency is "actively encouraging vaccination" and "doing a lot of education and outreach" to get employees fully vaccinated, but said she does not have the figure available.
Nowhere in the clip, or in the broader hearing, does Walensky state or imply that CDC employees are not getting vaccinated — only that she does not have the numbers with her.
Data made available since the hearing show that nearly all employees of the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the CDC, have complied with Biden’s order. A White House update noted that as of Nov. 23, 96.4% of HHS employees had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. When including pending or approved exemption requests, the department’s compliance rate with Biden’s order rose to 98.8%. And as of Dec. 8, 97.1% of HHS employees had received at least one dose, with a compliance rate of 99.6%.
Overall, 92.5% of over 3.5 million employees in federal agencies included under the executive order had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose by Dec. 8, with a compliance rate of 97.2%.
Those figures were announced by the White House on Dec. 9, weeks before the Facebook post.
While Walensky might not have had the exact percentage available at the time of the hearing, updated data shows that the vast majority of government employees are getting their shots, and Walensky didn’t say otherwise.
We rate this claim False.
Facebook post, Dec. 29, 2021
U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Next Steps: The Road Ahead for the COVID-19 Response, Nov. 4, 2021
Federal Register, Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees, Sep. 14, 2021
Safer Federal Workforce, Vaccinations FAQ, Accessed Jan. 7, 2021
The White House Briefing Room, Update on Implementation of COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Federal Employees, Nov. 24, 2021
The White House Briefing Room, Update on Implementation of COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Federal Employees, Dec. 9, 2021
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