States push back on CDC demand for personal data of COVID-19 vaccine recipients
State officials are balking at requests from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the personal data of residents receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
The CDC has asked states for cooperation on data-use agreements, under which they would share personal registry information with the federal agency. The request has been met with pushback from some states, which have warned the data could be misused.
For example, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the federal data collection could intimidate undocumented immigrants from getting vaccinated. The information request is “another example of them trying to extort the State of New York to get information that they can use at the Department of Homeland Security and ICE that they’ll use to deport people,” he told The New York Times.
Officials in Minnesota said they will not submit any personal information to the agency but will provide vaccination data with the identifying information removed.
The CDC has denied that any of the data will be shared across agencies and said it was necessary to ensure those crossing state lines receive their second dose of the vaccine and to track any adverse side effects from the drug.
“This is a new activity for us, as we don’t typically report this level of detail on this frequency to the federal government,” Minnesota Department of Health spokesman Doug Schultz told the Times. “We will not be reporting name, ZIP code, race, ethnicity or address.”
The leaders of Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s vaccine development program, said in a Monday press briefing that all but a few states have signed a data agreement and that they expect the rest to sign by week’s end.
“There is no Social Security number being asked for; there is no driver’s license number,” said Deacon Maddox, an official responsible for the initiative’s data system. “The only number I would say that is asked is the date of birth.”