Late last month the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 550, the “Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2021.”
Proponents in Congress criticized for voting for the bill, spin their action with slippery statements like it, “does not create a federal vaccine database,” “information in state-run systems is kept private,” and there will be “guardrails” to “protect against abuse.”
While the bill does not explicitly create a “federal vaccine database,” it does lay the groundwork for federal influence and control over the tracking of immunization records of American citizens and will coerce states to adopt systems that comply with the goals of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The bill also makes clear that the federal government expects the records and information will be accessible by a wide range of government entities, “non-governmental entities,” and “other persons.” Protection from “guardrails” appears to be guided by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, currently a Biden-appointee, who has stated, “it is absolutely the government’s business” to know people’s vaccine status.
Here are excerpts directly from the text of H.R. 550 that explain some of what the $400,000,000 in taxpayer funds appropriated by bill is intended to accomplish:
The Secretary [of HHS] shall: conduct activities to expand, enhance, and improve immunization information systems.
And [the Secretary shall] award grants or cooperative agreements:
- to improve and increase consistency in patient matching, data collection, reporting, bidirectional exchange, and analysis of immunization-related information;
- for improving the secure bidirectional exchange of immunization record data among Federal, State, local, Tribal, and territorial governmental entities and non-governmental entities;
- for improving such exchange among public health officials in multiple jurisdictions within a State;
- for simplifying and supporting electronic reporting by any health care provider;
- for supporting the standardization of immunization information systems to accelerate interoperability; and,
- for developing information related to the use and importance of immunization record data and disseminating such information to health care providers and other persons authorized under State law to access such information, including payors [your insurance company and government health programs for example] and health care facilities.
In an era where vaccination status increasingly determines an individual’s ability to simply participate in society, are the above activities that undermine patient privacy something the federal government should be involved in supporting and directing?
Please help speak out against H.R. 550 as it moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration. In addition to the serious concerns outlined above, passage may open the door wider to government intrusion into medical privacy in other areas as well, so stopping this bill is critical.
Thank you for your help in standing up for patient privacy and individual rights! Your voice makes a difference.