Proposed Immunization Database Change Prompts Privacy Concerns

2013-01-31T02:10:00Z Proposed Immunization Database Change Prompts Privacy ConcernsBy Melissa Davlin - mdavlin@magicvalley.com Twin Falls Times-News

BOISE • A proposed change to the state’s immunization database caused controversy during a Senate Health and Welfare Committee meeting on Wednesday, with vaccine opponents coming out to testify against the registry and vaccinations in general.

Currently, Idaho’s Immunization Reminder Information System, or IRIS, tracks immunization information of anyone who receives an immunization in the state. The system is voluntary, though it automatically records patient information and immunization records unless they or their parents choose to opt-out.

The proposal, presented by Dr. Christine Hahn of the Department of Health and Welfare, would allow the registry to retain the name and date of birth of those who opt out to make sure medical professionals don’t accidentally enter information of those who don’t want their information in the database.

The idea, Hahn said, is to protect those who opt out from having their information disclosed against their will.

But some members of the public who testified expressed concern that the government would retain that information and use it against them in the future.

Others were concerned about privacy and didn’t want their names associated with a database they opted out of.

“I’m fearful of the ever-increasing government databases,” said Ryan Carson, adding he was worried about insurance companies using the database to deny people insurance.

During testimony, the discussion veered into pro- and anti-vaccination debates, with mentions of autism and forced vaccinations in schools.

Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, said she received 100 e-mails against the bill.

“I think that it can be easily abused, very easily, to see who is or is not compliant,” Nuxoll said.

Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, said he viewed the change as the easiest way to honor parents’ wishes, calling it an “elegant solution” to the danger of someone accidentally entering unwanted information into a database.

Ultimately, the committee voted to hold the bill in committee for the moment, allowing Chairman Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, to bring up the bill again in the future.

Copyright 2015 Twin Falls Times-News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(3) Comments

  1. elcty
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    elcty - January 31, 2013 10:45 pm
    For vaccines I heard some of the things people said vaccines caused they actually don't cause them. Hysteria. Also I have read of people not vacinated and lack of vacination killed them. A Colorado teenager. Parents are forward with it. What people do is up to them. However vacines save many lives and I don't think they are as dangerous as some people say they are.
  2. cycle3man
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    cycle3man - January 31, 2013 7:03 pm
    Good for Idaho!! Now do something about those assault weapons and umungus clips and backround checks for ALL gun purchases!!!
  3. maurinemeleck
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    maurinemeleck - January 31, 2013 8:54 am
    Congratulations to all those who fought for their health privacy. The type of database that was proposed goes against everything in the US that been considered democratic.. Government's intrusion in this manner must be stopped, not just in Idaho, but in every state that has such a database. Everyone must have the right to choose what drugs can be injected into their bodies or their childrens bodies. Education, choice and parental consent must be observed.
    Hats off to the people of Idaho.
    Maurine Meleck, SC
    grandmother to 2 vaccine injured boys

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