AUSTIN, Texas — All medical providers administering the drug must agree to report all personal health information related to a COVID-19 vaccine to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
This policy was written into a Texas Homeland Security bill in 2007. It became law.
In order to get federal pandemic influenza grant money, Texas needed a database to track vaccines during an emergency response.
“Everyone who receives an antiviral immunization or medication during a declared disaster will have their name reported to the registry, regardless of whether they consent or not,” shows a DSHS training video.
The statewide system is called ImmTrac2.
We asked the State about what it will do with the private health information.
Chris Van Deusen, DSHS director of media relations, said it’s to make sure people have access to the vaccine, can be reminded when to take any additional rounds and be alerted should anything go wrong with the shot they got. The private health information is not shared with anyone outside the health provider system, he said.
“It's not something that insurance or other private companies would have access to,” Van Deusen said.
Imelda Garcia, director of infectious disease prevention for Texas, said Texas law prohibits the State from sharing our private information with others.
“We'll only be sharing aggregate counts back to CDC,” Garcia said.
Harvard professor Dr. Barry Bloom said we need to have open communication across all levels.
“Absolutely essential if we're to assure the equitable, fair and safe distribution of the vaccines and then accountability for effectiveness,” Dr. Bloom said.
Only information regarding COVID-19 vaccines and related drugs, like Remdesivir, will automatically be sent to the State.
If you don’t want your information in the State system, tell your provider to mark you as “non-consent.” While it will not stop the State from having the information now, the personal data will be deleted five years after the declared disaster ends.
ImmTrac2 can also be used to help providers and the State track other vaccines, but adults need to opt in.
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