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NEW YORK December 9, 2020 – The Trump administration is reportedly requiring states to submit the personal information of people who receive COVID-19 vaccines. Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, issued the following statement in response:

“A failure to protect the privacy of vaccine recipients will undermine public trust and make people more reluctant to take a vaccine. Fear that this data could get into the wrong hands will also hurt vaccine distribution efforts in immigrant communities, who have already been left out of COVID-19-related care. Our lives, economy, and way of life depend on the government getting this right.

“The federal government shouldn’t demand any more data than is necessary to administer its vaccination program. It must also ensure this data remains unidentifiable, and states should not share the data with the federal government without signing an agreement to these terms. The Trump and Biden administrations must also allow and encourage all states to use the existing Privacy Preserving Record Linkage technology to handle COVID vaccine data. There’s no reason for the government now, of all times, to change existing practices and undermine public trust in the COVID vaccine.”