The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says states must sign a data-sharing agreement with the organization and provide personal, identifying information on people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine, prompting some states to raise privacy concerns.
Shared information would include names, addresses, dates of birth, and ethnicities. Past attempts to create a national vaccine registration have not been successful due to issues of privacy. The New York Times reports that some states are signing the agreement but will not actually provide the information, while some are refusing to sign it.
Officials working with the COVID-19 vaccine program, dubbed Operation Warp Speed, say most states have signed the agreement and the rest will do so this week. The data collected will not be shared with other federal agencies, officials in the Trump administration said. They also say the information is essential to tracking negative reactions to the vaccine and dealing with vaccine safety, evaluating how effective the shot is to people of differing demographics, and remaining in touch with people who move across state lines after a first dose but before a second one.
Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania are among the states that are resisting.
"We don't typically report this level of detail on this frequency to the federal government," Doug Schultz, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Health, said in an email.
He noted that the state "will not be reporting name, ZIP code, race, ethnicity or address."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo accused the federal government of trying to obtain information on undocumented immigrants so they can be deported.
Emory University physician and professor of public health Carlos del Rio pushed back against the criticisms that focus on privacy.
"We're in a pandemic," he said. "Privacy has its role, but it cannot be what drives decision-making when you're trying to do a monumental task like vaccinating millions of Americans with a vaccine that requires two doses."