Irish Daily Mail
A record of those who DON’T take the vaccine
HSE will document who gets a jab as an expert fears the information could be shared to other agencies
PEOPLE who refuse to take the Covid-19 vaccine will be recorded on the Health Service Executive (HSE) database, the Irish Daily Mail can reveal.
A specialised database built by t ech gi ants I BM and Salesforce will capture the data of every person in the country and when they have been vaccinated.
Fred Logue, a solicitor specialising in information law, said the collection of the data would be lawful as long as there was a ‘legal basis’ for doing so.
‘The HSE does have duties and responsibilities in relation to public health, so as long as there’s a good reason justifying the recording of it, and it meets the requirement necessary, proportionate, then I don’t in principle see anything wrong with it,’ he said.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the sole jab currently being administered in this country. It needs to be stored at -70C and has to be used within five hours of it being taken out of the ultra-cool freezer.
Mr Logue pointed out that the HSE does need to capture this data for the roll-out of the national vaccination programme.
He said: ‘You can see why you’d need records like this. There is going to be a national vaccination programme, and just for the basic: if someone presents for the vac
‘There’s kind of a grey area’
cine, have they got it already, have they not got it, or have they been offered it or not offered it?
‘That’s important stuff to have particularly when there’s a limited supply or when you’re trying to reach everyone.’
However, Mr Logue said he would be concerned if the dataset was used by other agencies.
He said: ‘If we’re getting into those kind of areas, I think you’d need [new] legislation.
‘There’s kind of a grey area where sharing has been justified, but for any national level database, particularly a health database, if you’re going beyond what it is directly being used for, you would need some form of legislative basis to share it and not just general rules.
‘My antenna will be twitching if it suddenly got shared with the airport… or even the CSO [Central Statistics Officer] in a way that can be used to identify people.’
A spokeswoman for the HSE told this newspaper that while it will record those who do and do not get the vaccine, everyone ‘will have control of their own data’.
The spokeswoman added that data will not be exported ‘without consent or a legal basis’.
Concerns have been r aised internationally about the use of data gathered in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In Singapore, police have been able to access contact-tracing data for use in criminal investigations.
Last week, Spanish health minister Salvador Illa said a similar database would be created there and that it could be shared with other EU countries.
‘What we will have is a registry that will also be shared with our European partners … of those who have been offered it and rejected it,’ Mr Illa told the Spanish broadcaster La Sexta.
The roll-out of the Covid-19 jab started last week with around 3,500 people being vaccinated.
The ‘core element’ of the IT system has been operational since December 29. Other functions such as the self-registration portal are to operate this week, the HSE said. The data will be stored on the Salesforce database and ‘there should not be the need for any data transfer/merger’, the spokeswoman for the HSE said.
Last month, a survey of TDs by this newspaper found that three elected members will not take the vaccine.
In addition to this, the chair of the Dáil’s Special Committee on Covid- 19 Response, Michael McNamara, i s refusing to say whether he will take the vaccine or not. Mr McNamara, an Independent TD for Clare, said it is a ‘personal decision’ and would not speak further on the issue.
‘I want to be appraised of the latest public health advice,’ he said.