A bill that is moving in the New York State Senate has disturbing implications for the privacy of persons receiving vaccines.
Bill S.75-Hoylman/A.279-Gottfried contains three basic provisions. First, the bill would require medical practitioners to report all vaccinations of persons aged 19 and older to the state. This provision would change a current law that makes such reports optional. Second, the bill would require medical practitioners in New York City to make similar reports to New York City’s immunization registry. Third, the bill would remove an existing requirement that a vaccinee’s consent be obtained before such reports are made. The bill’s sponsors assert that this measure would help the government to monitor and track immunizations and to direct public outreach efforts where they are most needed. As of May 12, 2021, the bill was on second reading in the State Senate; this means that it could receive a floor vote in a matter of days.
New Yorkers who do not wish to have their COVID-19 vaccinations reported to the government should have the freedom to opt out of such reports. Bill S.75-Hoylman/A.279-Gottfried would take that freedom away. Furthermore, if the state were to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, this legislation would help government officials to pinpoint which New Yorkers had received the vaccine and which had chosen not to receive it; many New Yorkers find this possibility deeply troubling. For reasons of privacy and civil liberties, this bill should not be passed.