Biggs introduces bill to bar government from gathering info identifying COVID-19 vaccine recipients
EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., on Monday introduced a bill that would bar the federal government from collecting information to identify who has received a COVID-19 vaccine amid privacy concerns related to the vaccine.
The bill, introduced in the House of Representatives, would bar the federal government from using money to "maintain a database of, or collect, information that can be used to identify an individual" who has been given a COVID-19 vaccine.
The COVID-19 crisis, and the resultant lockdowns that followed, brought a range of concerns from conservatives related to both liberty and privacy. As the vaccine has been rolled out, some have expressed concern about the potential for mandatory vaccinations, or for certain freedoms to be attached to those receiving the vaccine. United Airlines' CEO reportedly said recently that he wanted to make vaccines mandatory for his staff.
Biggs echoed those concerns about privacy as he introduced the bill.
"Thanks to President Donald Trump, the United States healthcare industry created a vaccine to combat COVID-19 in record time," he said in a statement to Fox News. "Unfortunately, as we have seen over the past year, state and local governments have demonstrated a heightened propensity for intrusion into Americans’ lives to increase control and limit freedoms."
"I am extremely concerned that the Biden administration, working closely with totalitarian regimes across our nation, will leverage this historic vaccine in order to dismantle peoples’ privacy yet again," he said. "All Americans should be able to choose to take this vaccine -- with no fear of government or public-private partnership reprisals and monitoring."
Dr. Anthony Fauci told Newsweek earlier this month that "everything will be on the table for discussion" when asked if he will be discussing introducing COVID-19 vaccine passports and potential mandatory vaccinations at a local level with President Biden.
However, he told the outlet that he doesn’t believe there will be a national COVID-19 vaccine mandate because "we almost never mandate things federally [with regards to health]."
"I'm not sure it's [the COVID-19 vaccine] going to be mandatory from a central government standpoint, like federal government mandates," he said. "But there are going to be individual institutions that I'm sure are going to mandate it."
The World Health Organization this month warned countries against the idea of requiring proof of vaccination for international travel.
"At the present time, do not introduce requirements of proof of vaccination or immunity for international travel as a condition of entry as there are still critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission and limited availability of vaccines," the organization's statement said.