The Bulletin Board

Lawmakers work on bill to make it easier for people to remove records from vaccine registry

By: - May 10, 2022 12:42 pm

House Bill 1487 was one of many bills this session that sought to restrict the state’s public health powers. (Getty Images)

Currently, the state will remove a person’s immunization records from its new vaccine registry only if their former or current health care provider signs a withdrawal form. The House and Senate have passed legislation making that process easier, but have rejected efforts to eliminate the signature requirement.

As introduced, House Bill 1487 would have required only that a person ask the Department of Health and Human Services in writing to withdraw their information. “Under no circumstances shall the request for withdrawal require the signature of the individual’s current or former health care provider,” the bill said.

The House and Senate amended it to allow a signature from either a physician or notary, an option not currently in state law.

But the bill is not headed to the governor’s desk yet.

The House must decide whether to approve a further change by the Senate that would allow a minor’s records to be removed only with a physician’s signature.  

HB 1487 was one of many bills this session that sought to restrict the state’s public health powers. While many failed, one priority bill has survived both chambers. 

House Bill 1606 would make it harder for the state to include a person’s immunization records by requiring their permission to do so. Currently, patients are enrolled unless they opt out. 

The Department of Health and Human Services has opposed HB 1606, saying any obstacle to tracking immunization rates across the state would jeopardize its ability to respond to a public health emergency. 

New Hampshire was the last state to create a registry when it launched it during the pandemic. 

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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.