Legislation

Vax registry change unites two Prog, GOP reps

By Guy Page

A proposed change in vaccine registry law has two very different legislators expressing the same concern.

In the Vermont House of Representatives, you won’t find two more polar-opposite lawmakers than Burlington Progressive Brian Cina and Northeast Kingdom conservative Republican Vicki Strong. 

Strong is a pastor’s wife who is a leader among the House’s pro-life legislators. Cina is the lead sponsor for many Progressive bills and a strong advocate for the LGBTQ legislative agenda. However, both went on the record Wednesday voicing concern after H315, a lengthy, wide-ranging Covid-19 relief bill, passed the House. 

The bill says the State may “provide confidential registry information to health care provider networks serving Vermont patients, to the Vermont Health Information Exchange, and, with the approval of the Commissioner, to researchers.” 

Not to worry, says Rep. Anne Donahue (R-Northfield), a legislative expert in health care issues including insurance. In an email to Vermont Daily last night, she said “the change in the clause you are referencing adds one thing only: it allows the VT Dept. of Health vaccine registry to share the vaccine information with the Health Information Exchange so that it is available in one location for the person’s providers. There is no change in who has access to it, but it allows the information to be shared in both places.”

Cina and Strong seem less sure about the longterm security and use of personal health information. 

In a comment from the (virtual) floor after the vote, Cina said he voted yes, “however, I am very concerned about the use of an appropriations bill to change health care policy regarding sharing personal health information from the vaccine registry. We must be cautious about the sense of urgency regarding the current public health emergency leading to the erosion of the rights and freedoms of the People.”

Strong voted no.  “I am still concerned about the data collection and registry language in this bill and am not comfortable at this time to vote yes.” In a follow-up email she added, “ The data collecting and registry information is a concern to me in order to protect people’s medical privacy and also there is always the question of how that data and information could be used and why it would be used. I take the word ‘registry’ very seriously and we should always be cautious about why such a thing needs to be created and what it will be used for. We may have good motives, but that information can be hacked or misused in the wrong hands.”

Strong is leery not only of the vaccine registry changes, but also of H315’s registry for home construction contractors. Proposed as an anti-fraud measure, it’s being praised by climate change activists who see a registry and licensing as a way to require contractors to comply with carbon-reducing ‘green’ building practices and use green-approved materials. Critics say it will add expensive, unnecessary building costs and red tape.

Donahue, however, stands by the right-now need for the vaccine registry changes.

“This has become more important (and was noticed as a concern to be addressed) because with the current COVID vaccine, because people are getting vaccines from all different places. This change makes it easier for the person’s doctor to be able to get accurate information in one place. So, no new registry; no change in confidentiality standards; still only accessible to the same providers; but the VDH registry will be able to communicate with the Health Information Exchange for provider access.”

Categories: Legislation

9 replies »

  1. I am NOT an anti VAXXER, BUT I REFUSE will vaccination due to several health conditions and the FEAR of side effects. Will the State hound me for my refusal??

  2. As for Registration of CONTRACTORS, WHY put MORE layers of CONTROL on an ALREADY heavily controlled Business adding another COST to what ever project I might hire someone to accomplish for me??

  3. I can’t breath! Just another regulation put on the neck of society until submission is obtained by an ever eager well meaning law to justify their existence. When will the VT legislature give us more freedom not control.

  4. The Vermont State Government has an EXTREME DESIRE to gain TOTAL CONTROL over us the CITIZENS and VOTERS. TO Paraphrase, PATRICK ,HENRY, GIVE ME LIBERTY AND FREEDOM

  5. I’m not anti-vax. I spent most of my adult life in the military and have been stuck more times than most American will ever be. But, I believe it is a violation of my right as an American to tell me I have to get a vaccination (unless I agree to have one), and then put me on a registry of any kind when I know that that data can’t be protected.

    My personal information was hacked many times; most recently when the UVM Medical system was hacked and shut down for about three weeks by the folks who hacked it.

    Are they going to deny me medical treatment at my medical facility because I didn’t get vaccinated? That would really be discriminatory, because the entire medical system is controlled by the state (Green Mountain Care Board – all medical clinics and doctors under the UVM Medical umbrella). Where else are we going to go to get medical treatment? New York?

    …and another thing; I went into the RRMC last week to get some routine lab work done for a physical that I am required to have, and I had to show my ID and then found that the administration already had a picture of me on their data-base from which they produced a sticker with my picture and a bar-code with all of my personal information on it. I asked – “what, I have to have an ID to get some blood drawn, but not to vote?” To which the lady at the desk stated “Yes you do”!

    Things are certainly skewed in this socialist state. This is getting almost like Nazi Germany was, and I soon expect someone on Main Street stopping me and asking – “PAPERS”!

    Wake up people!

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