The Bulletin Board

Committee recommends pared back version of vaccine registry bill

By: - February 14, 2022 12:38 pm
A cropped hand holding a vial of vaccine and syringe

The full House is scheduled to vote on the pared back version of the bill Wednesday. (Getty Images | Javier Zayas Photography)

Rather than spend more than $7 million attempting to contact all 790,000 people vaccinated and automatically included in the state’s immunization registry during six months of the pandemic, a House committee is recommending the state instead advertise the opportunity to have that vaccine record removed.

With its 19-0 vote for a scaled back outreach effort, the House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee also rejected House Bill 1608’s  requirement that the department eliminate the COVID-19 vaccination records of those who did not respond, a move it warned would eliminate all records of that vaccination aside from paper vaccination cards.

The full House is scheduled to vote on the pared back version of the bill Wednesday. 

Under the rules of the state’s new vaccine registry, people must be offered the chance to opt out at the time of any vaccination and not have their vaccination record included. 

That opt-out requirement was temporarily set aside under an emergency order issued by Gov. Chris Sununu that ran from Dec. 11, 2020, to June 11, 2021. Sununu’s order cited a federal requirement that all COVID-19 vaccines be reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Those who wish to have records of their COVID-19 vaccine removed can already do so via an online form that must be signed by a health care provider. The committee’s vote would require the department to promote that opportunity.

The department’s public information campaign would have to include a press release, posts on its social media accounts, a notice or banner on all its websites for at least 60 days, and provide a hyperlink to the existing withdrawal form. 

The department’s messaging must state, “Our New Hampshire Constitution honors your right to privacy, including your medical information, and you have the right to withdraw your information from the immunization registry.”

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. Email: [email protected]