Medical diagnostic code for declining vaccines not new, will not be used to track non-compliance
On a Facebook page for healthcare workers fighting against COVID-19 vaccination mandates, an unidentified woman shared what sounds like a warning about new industry practices to promote vaccination.
In the virus video, the woman says a new medical diagnosis code has been designated for people who refuse vaccines, and it will be used to help determine who goes to “education camps.”
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Learn more about our partnership with facebook.)
Despite the ominous tone of the message, the diagnostic code is not new and has been in use since 2015. There is also no evidence to support the claim that the government plans to send unvaccinated people to camps. of education.
The woman in the video looks like she’s at her workplace reading an email aloud. She says the correspondence is from “DOH and DHS,” and while she doesn’t specify what the initials stand for, they are common abbreviations for the Department of Health and the Department of Health Services, or the Department of Homeland Security. The woman says she won’t identify which state sent the information, except to say it wasn’t Florida.
Reading the purported email, she says the agencies will use the ICD-10 diagnosis code Z28.20 “for vaccine advice that does not result in vaccination.”
She explains that ICD-10 codes are used to track people through various medical data systems, including insurance and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and continues, “So for those of you who were wondering how they were going to find out who they needed to put in these…education camps and counseling camps, I think we just got our….” Her response trails off as she points to the screen with email.
ICD-10 stands for International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision. It is a classification system “designed to promote international comparability in the collection, processing, classification and presentation of mortality statistics”, according to the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention.
The federal Department of Health and Human Services has required the current set of codes, ICD-10, to be used by health care providers, effective October 1, 2015.
The code referenced in the Facebook video, Z28.20, is for “immunization not performed due to patient decision for unspecified reason,” according to ICD10Data.com. The website says the Z28.20 code went into effect on October 1, 2015.
Other health care publications also mention the code. The American Academy of Pediatrics has published a report 2016 about “Codes to capture vaccine refusal”, and noted that the codes start with category Z28.
The video’s claim about education and counseling camps appears to be tied to an October 24, 2021 appearance on Fox News by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. During an interview, Chris Wallace asked Walensky if the Biden administration was “still ahead of mandates for essential workers to get vaccinated.”
Walensky’s response included this comment to the 8:05 in the exchange: “There is a plan if these people do not want to be vaccinated towards education and counseling to provide people with the information they need so that they feel comfortable about getting vaccinated.”
His comment was misinterpreted by websites known to spread misinformation, such as NaturalNews.com, which posted a October 27 story with the headline, “CDC’s Walensky threatens cops who refuse covid shots, says they’ll be sent to re-education camps.”
Others, like conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, also claimed that Walensky’s comments meant she wanted to send people to re-education camps.
A Facebook post claims a new medical diagnosis code has been designated for people who refuse vaccines, and it will be used to help determine who goes to “education camps”.
The diagnostic trouble code is not new and has been in use since 2015.
There is no evidence to support the claim that the government plans to send unvaccinated people to education camps. The claim misinterprets remarks by CDC Director Walensky, who said vaccine-hesitant essential workers would receive education and counseling.
We rate this claim as false.