Vaccine Passports? Say it ain’t so, Roy.


Our developmentally-challenged governor has been mighty evasive about vaccine passports —  proof of COVID vaccination which gains you new freedoms.  The Big Dummy told WRAL that he favored   “proof” of vaccination without violating privacy. Here he is “mulling” vaccine passports as late as April 2021.  And here Cooper is “having discussions” about creating vaccine reports. 

And here is ol’ Roy saying he doesn’t want vaccine passports, but wants “more accessible” medical records. 

The Republican side of the state’s US House delegation has come out against vaccine passports –citing their potential threat to individual liberties.

WRAL , of course, did their best to defend Cooper.  They keyed on the idea of a ‘mandate,’  saying they could find no evidence of a ‘mandate’ in Cooper’s plans.

Check out this page on the NC Department of Health and Human Services website:

[…] Get back to the places you love with proof of your COVID-19 vaccination.  

You may need to show your COVID-19 vaccine information to businesses or venues. The NC COVID-19 Vaccine Portal is a free, fast and secure way for many North Carolinians to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination or print a copy of your COVID-19 vaccine information for other purposes.  […]

The NCDHHS web page includes the gateway to an online portal.  The instructions for using said portal include this little tidbit:

[…] The PDF includes a QR code that can be scanned by a phone or QR scanner. When scanned, the QR code pulls up a person’s vaccination information. The information pulled from the QR code contains confidential health information and is intended for the
vaccine recipient’s use only.[…] 

*I’m sure that will be heeded.*  Just like the bar on people under 21 possessing alcohol or cigarettes.  Or the scolding we get about sharing Netflix passwords.

Here’s what The Brookings Institution — a center-left DC think tank — says about vaccine passports:

[…] Safeguarding privacy is one of the core issues surrounding the use of a digital health certificate in the United States. Digital vaccine passports may contain sensitive medical information in a centralized database, so individuals’ vaccination data may be vulnerable to data breaches, government surveillance, or corporate misuse depending on what privacy and security measures are in place and what entities have access to the data. The Biden administration has already announced that “there will be no centralized, universal federal vaccinations database,” but companies like CVS and Walgreens that have played a major role in getting shots into Americans’ arms must keep detailed vaccination records.

As a result, private companies may lead vaccine passport development in the United States. IBM and CLEAR are two front-runners that have designed vaccine verification technology for use by major employers, sports stadiums, and airports. The New York Times has also reported that United, JetBlue, and Lufthansa airlines plan to use the CommonPass, developed by The Commons Project, World Economic Forum, and Rockefeller Foundation, to enable passengers to fly to certain destinations. The International Chamber of Commerce and International Air Transportation Association are also creating vaccine verification apps for international travel.

The lack of a comprehensive federal privacy law potentially heightens the risks involved with sharing sensitive personal health information (PHI), such as vaccination status, with a commercial entity. For example, if a person records PHI on a patient intake form at a medical facility, that information is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), but that same data is not protected if they enter it into a popular fitness or health app.

Moreover, it is unclear whether CVS, Walgreens, and other clinics—which are storing vaccination data for millions of Americans—have the same legal responsibility as medical providers to protect PHI. Without regulations to guard against the improper use and sale of personal information, commercial vaccine passports may carry strong privacy risks. This is particularly true if vaccine verification becomes mandatory to participate in everyday life, giving people little choice but to hand over sensitive data to private companies.[…]