COVID-19 Breakthrough Reporting Methodology Changes (CDC)

Erin Marie Miller filed this request with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking #

22-01106-FOIA

22-01108-FOIA

22-01107-FOIA

Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Appeal

Communications

From: Erin Marie Miller

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

As per the CDC website page entitled "COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Case Investigation and Reporting" (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7021e3.htm): "Beginning May 1, 2021, CDC transitioned from monitoring all reported COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough infections to investigating only those among patients who are hospitalized or die, thereby focusing on the cases of highest clinical and public health significance."

Despite this decision, the CDC has continued to monitor all reported cases of COVID-19 in unvaccinated people, regardless of severity. From a quantitative analysis perspective, such differences in methodology (i.e., using two different sets of variables to track data differently between two different populations) has the potential to create statistical biases. It can make it difficult, if not impossible, to normalize numbers from each population for the purpose of comparing them.

Because of this, it is vital to interests of the public, as well as the journalism, scientific, medical, public policy, and statistical analysis communities, to fully understand the logic and reasoning behind the CDC's decision to track COVID-19 cases in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations so differently.

In light of recent news reports about alleged waning and potential decreases in vaccine effectiveness over time, especially as it relates to the new Omicron variant and concerns about future mutations of the virus, it is also vital to the public interest to fully understand the CDC's data tracking choices. Understanding the factors behind the CDC's data tracking decisions could be helpful for policy analysts to determine whether more consistent methodologies should be implemented between each population now, in order to better identify new variants as they occur and to track vaccine effectiveness over time.

That said, I hereby request the following records pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act:

1. All records in possession of your agency created between the dates of December 31, 2020 and May 1, 2021 relating to the CDC decision to cease monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases. Emails (including their attachments), internal discussions, supporting documents and scientific models, and other records that might be relevant to understanding the decision should be included in the responsive documents.

In order to help determine my status to assess fees, you should know that I am a freelance journalist whose work is published frequently by print and digital news outlets and magazines. As a member of the media, I request a waiver of all fees.

The requested information will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes. Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the impact of public health and policy decisions, as well as operations and/or activities of the government, and is not primarily in my commercial interest. I am willing to pay up to $25 for the requested information. If the fee for this request exceeds this amount, please notify me in writing for permission prior to beginning work on the request.

I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Erin Miller

From: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dear Erin Miller,

Your request has been received by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The request has been assigned tracking # 22-01107-FOIA, please log into your account and review your submission.

The application address is https://foia.cdc.gov/.

Thank you,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

From: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dear Erin Miller,

Your request has been received by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The request has been assigned tracking # 22-01108-FOIA, please log into your account and review your submission.

The application address is https://foia.cdc.gov/.

Thank you,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

From: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dear Erin Miller,

Your request has been received by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The request has been assigned tracking # 22-01106-FOIA, please log into your account and review your submission.

The application address is https://foia.cdc.gov/.

Thank you,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

From: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

March 10, 2022

Request Number: 22-01106-FOIA

Dear Ms. Miller: This is regarding your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of March 7, 2022, for

"I would like to request all emails involving John Auerbach and Exxon Mobil between January 2021 and December 2021."

Please see the attached letter.

Sincerely,

Leigh Davidi
CDC/ATSDR FOIA Office
770-488-6298

From: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

March 10, 2022

Request Number: 22-01107-FOIA

Dear Ms. Miller: This is regarding your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of March 7, 2022, for

"request for the drafts and final memos, reports, and/or summaries of all closed investigations into research misconduct, ethical misconduct, and/or conflicts of interest among CDC staff and officials for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021."

Please see the attached letter.

Sincerely,

Leigh Davidi
CDC/ATSDR FOIA Office
770-488-6298

From: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

March 10, 2022

Request Number: 22-01108-FOIA

Dear Ms. Miller: This is regarding your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of March 7, 2022, for

All records in possession of your agency created between the dates of December 31, 2020 and May 1, 2021 relating to the CDC decision to cease monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases. Emails (including their attachments), internal discussions, supporting documents and scientific models, and other records that might be relevant to understanding the decision should be included in the responsive documents.

Please see the attached letter.

Sincerely,

Leigh Davidi
CDC/ATSDR FOIA Office
770-488-6298

From: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

March 10, 2022

Request Number: 22-01106-FOIA

Dear Ms. Miller: This is regarding your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of March 7, 2022, for "I would like to request all emails involving John Auerbach and Exxon Mobil between January 2021 and December 2021."

Please see the attached letter.

Sincerely,

Leigh Davidi
CDC/ATSDR FOIA Office
770-488-6298

From: Erin Marie Miller

Hello,

You seem to have sent me the wrong letter. That is not the information I requested -- you must have confused two different requests.

Please review my actual FOIA request (22-01108-FOIA) and provide me with the correct response. If I have not heard back by next week, I will file an appeal.

Best,

Erin Miller

From: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dear Ms. Miller,

Thank you for your email.

Please see the attached letters (acknowledgement letter and broad/vague letter) that have been sent to you for your FOIA request, #22-01106. We need additional information from you regarding this request. I hope this clears up any mix up for you.

You received only an acknowledgement letter (attached) for your two other requests, #22-01107 and #22-01108.

Let me know if you have additional concerns.

Kind regards,

Leigh

From: Erin Marie Miller

Hi Leigh,

Your agency has mistakenly sent me an acknowledgement letter for the wrong request twice now. The letter you sent to me on 3/11/2022 is not for my request. I did not ask for information about Exxon Mobile.

My original request was filed with your agency on 3/7/2022. It asked for "All records in possession of your agency created between the dates of December 31, 2020 and May 1, 2021 relating to the CDC decision to cease monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases. Emails (including their attachments), internal discussions, supporting documents and scientific models, and other records that might be relevant to understanding the decision should be included in the responsive documents."

My request was originally assigned tracking number 22-01107-FOIA. Since then, your agency has assigned my request two additional incorrect tracking numbers ( 22-01107-FOIA and 22-01108-FOIA), so I have no idea what its correct tracking number is now.

Your acknowledgement letter is for the incorrect request.

Again, please acknowledge my actual request. In the meantime, since this is the second time your agency has done this, I am filing an appeal.

From: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Thank you for your email, Ms. Miller.

Seemingly, we received the attached two requests from you. Please review the two attached FOIA requests and advise me if these are both accurate requests submitted by you.

I have identified the error with the #22-01106 request. This request was submitted by another requester. Therefore, I regret sending you a letter for this request. We will update our records accordingly.

I look forward to understanding if you have submitted the two attached requests.

Kind regards,

Leigh

From: Erin Marie Miller

Deputy Agency Chief FOIA Officer,
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs,
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Re: Freedom of Information Act Appeal

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act.

On March 7, 2022, I requested documents under the Freedom of Information Act from the CDC pertaining to "all records in possession of the agency created between the dates of December 31, 2020 and May 1, 2021 relating to the CDC decision to cease monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases. Emails (including their attachments), internal discussions, supporting documents and scientific models, and other records that might be relevant to understanding the decision should be included in the responsive documents."

On March 10, 2022, I received an acknowledgement letter from Roger Andoh pertaining to a request that was not mine (22-01106-FOIA). That request sought information about emails pertaining to ExxonMobil. That letter obviously acknowledged someone else's request, and not mine.

Later on March 10, 2022, I received another acknowledgement letter from Roger Andoh pertaining to my actual request (22-01108-FOIA) seeking information about the CDC's decision to cease monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases. This was the correct request, and so the agency's confusion seemed to have been corrected.

However, later still on March 10, 2022, I received another communication from Leigh Davidi regarding 22-01106-FOIA (the incorrect ExxonMobil request). I assume this letter should have been addressed to a different requester, because I had not requested any information about ExxonMobil from the CDC. However, this letter contained my contact information, which was confusing.

The agency had entered the wrong requester information into request #22-01106.

The letter informed me that request #22-01106 had been put on hold until I provided additional clarifying information -- which is impossible for me to do, since I did not make that request.

On March 11, 2022, I emailed Leigh Davidi to let them know they had mixed up the requests, and that I was receiving correspondence about someone else's request -- request #22-01106 is not mine.

Leigh Davidi then responded, ignoring what I had said and again letting me know that request #22-01106 was on hold until I provided further information about a request, even though I had just clarified in writing that #22-01106 was not mine.

The agency is clearly confused about the requester for #22-01106, and needs to review and update that request's information to include the correct requester -- which is not me.

I have no idea how to communicate this mix-up to the agency in any other way, having tried twice now. So, I am appealing the agency's decision to assign someone else's FOIA request to me. I do not know who the ExxonMobil request (#22-01106) belongs to, but any documents associated with that request need to find their way to the correct requester -- not me.

If you have any questions while handling this appeal, you can email me at the email address listed below. I would prefer that all communications related to this appeal be in writing if possible.

Thank you for your consideration of this appeal.

Sincerely,

Erin Miller
MuckRock News DEPT
MR 122324 411A
Highland Avenue
Somerville, Massachusetts 02144-2516
requests@muckrock.com

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