OPPOSE S3240 Requires all individuals be enrolled in the vaccine registry/tracking system when vaccinated, forced tracking during an outbreak

Published: 2022-12-15
Expires: 2023-12-31

Action Alert Instructions

UPDATE: 12/15/2022 -S3240 passed the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee with amendments on 12/15/2022 by a vote of 5 Yes, 2 No, 1 Not Voting. Link to the hearing Audio HERE.  The amendment adds the following additional new section: 

During a declared public health emergency, state of emergency, or an outbreak, or the immediate threat of an outbreak, of a communicable disease, as declared by the Commissioner of Health, the Commissioner of Health may deny an individual’s request to disenroll from the registry or to not participate in the registry for one or more vaccines for a specified period of time in order to track the administration and uptake of vaccinations.

ACTION NEEDED:

Contact your NJ State Senator and ask them to oppose S3240

Dear New Jersey NVIC Advocacy Team Members,   

We need your quick action this week to oppose a bad bill in New Jersey.

S3240 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on Thursday, 12/15/2022 at 01:00 PM in Committee Room 4, First Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ. Click HERE to view the hearing agenda. 

S3240 / A4112 would require any person not currently enrolled in the vaccine tracking system/registry, NJIIS, to be enrolled at the time the person is administered an immunization, unless the person or the person’s parent or legal guardian, in the case of a person who is younger than 18 years of age, provides a written request to not participate in the registry. 

NVIC is opposed to S3240 / A4112 because no one should have their private information put into a database without prior written consent. Consent should always be obtained and never assumed. 

The state vaccine registry is currently an OPT-IN system for adults for all vaccines with the exception of COVID-19 vaccines due to an executive order issued by the governor requiring everyone who had a COVID-19 vaccine to be included in the registry.

What OPT-IN means is if you do nothing, your vaccine information will not be shared. You are out of the system. If you have not given consent, your vaccine status remains private between you and your health care provider and your vaccine status is not tracked by state government or released to other healthcare databases. 

S3240 / A4112 would change the registry to an OPT-OUT system for adults where your consent to be tracked by the government and harassed with reminders to be vaccinated would be ASSUMED and your records would be shared across systems and stored in different databases automatically not only without your consent, but oftentimes even without your knowledge. You would have to affirmatively withdraw your participation, but data shared externally about you cannot easily be located, retrieved and removed. You would only be able to prevent further sharing if you took steps to fill out an OPT-OUT form. The damage of revealing your vaccination status to the government and other entities can be done before you have a chance to OPT-OUT.

For OPT-OUT to work, the health department has to minimally keep your identity in a refuser database so when vaccine status information is submitted by health care providers or other registry users into the registry, they will know whose data not to release. With OPT-OUT systems, the very people who don’t want to be tracked are tracked as dissidents and refusers of the system.

We saw how terribly vaccine refusers were treated during the pandemic, and the people of New Jersey should actively fight any legislation that allows for assumed consent for participation in these OPT-OUT systems.

This information could be used against you to limit your ability to participate in society in future outbreaks.

School vaccination requirements are an example of another OPT-OUT system with only medical and religious exemptions available for New Jersey children. With OPT-OUT systems like this, you run the risk of the right to refuse to be more easily removed as New Jersey had a close call over losing the religious exemption in 2019 and 2020.

S3240 / A4112 are a step backwards for adults in New Jersey as these bills would strip adults of their rights to maintaining control over their private and confidential vaccination information and conform adults to the assumed consent mandatory tracking that New Jersey children are subjected to.

Just because an adult consents to the administration of one vaccine, does not mean they want to be harassed to be vaccinated with all the other ones.

S3240 / A4112 should be opposed because it is simple and ethically responsible to ask for OPT-IN consent into the registry at the time a vaccination is given. This practice of obtaining consent should not be changed for adults, and the current laws that all allow for children to be automatically included should be amended to make the system OPT-IN for them as well.

HIPAA does not protect the use or disclosure of private information in any vaccine tracking system.  The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA45 CFR 164.512(b)(1)(i) permits covered entities to disclose protected health information to government officials and other government approved entities including foreign governments, without authorization for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, conducting public health surveillance, investigations or interventions.

The numerous core data elements collected by these systems are very broad. Click here to see a list of them, and note that this list may not include all the data elements these systems produce, store, or send.

Section 1178 (2) (B) of HIPAA allows for a stricter state law to supersede it regarding permitted unconsented disclosures when it relates to the privacy of individually identifiable health information. This is why OPT IN IS SO IMPORTANT – that is the stricter state law that needs to be there!

In the absence of a stricter state law requiring consent, HIPAA allows for  unconsented disclosures.  S3420 puts adults in New Jersey at risk for these unconsented disclosures by removing the stricter state law of OPT-IN informed consent for adult participation in the registry. 

Please make sure to read the bottom of this alert for important additional information about finding out if you or your child are in the vaccine tracking system and additional information on how to disenroll yourself or your child.

ACTION NEEDED:  

1)    Show up and testify against S3240 at the hearing!  Please see opposition talking points below.

In Person Testimony: To submit testimony in person, bring 15 copies of your testimony to the hearing room. There will be witness slips on a table inside the hearing room.  

Fill out the witness slips with: 

  • your name; 
  • the bill number (S3240); 
  • position (OPPOSED); and 
  • whether or not you want to submit oral testimony. 

The committee asks that if many people have the same points to make, that a spokesperson deliver the testimony and additional people don’t repeat the same points. 

Written Testimony: Please email your testimony to Kimberly Prihoda by Tuesday or Wednesday morning to be included in the hearing packets.  [email protected]    

2)    Contact the members of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee by phone or email and ask them to OPPOSE S3240

Please see talking points below.   

Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee Members  

Chairman Joseph F. Vitale: 📞 (732) 855-7441  Vitale Contact Form 

Vice-Chair Fred H. Madden Jr.: 📞 (856) 232-6700   Madden Contact Form  

Renee C. Burgess: 📞 (973) 371-5665   Burgess Contact Form  

Richard J. Codey: 📞 (973) 535-5017  Codey Contact Form  

Edward Durr: 📞 (856) 595-2676  Durr Contact Form  

Vin Gopal: 📞 (732) 695-3371  Gopal Contact Form  

Holly T. Schepisi: 📞 (201) 666-0881  Schepisi Contact Form  

Robert W. Singer: 📞 (732) 987-5669  Singer Contact Form   

Click HERE if you are interested in some insightful information about the structure and operations of the New Jersey Legislature.  

3)    Contact your State Senator and ask them to OPPOSE S3240.  

If you do not know who your New Jersey state legislators are, login to the NVIC Advocacy Portal at http://NVICAdvocacy.org. Click on the red button on the homepage that says “Go to my State” or “My State” on the STATE TEAMS tab. Your personal state legislators are listed on the bottom of the page. You can click on your legislators’ names to get phone numbers, emails, and even links to their social media to connect to them. You can also find your state legislators at this link: https://njleg.gov/#findLegislator.   

4)    Please share this action alert with family and friends. You can forward this email or share this link by text or on social media:

https://nvicadvocacy.org/members/State-Teams/My-State/Action-Alert-Details-Alt/itemid/3166/State/NJ?Page=True

5)     Sign up to get NVIC’s New Jersey “Heads Up” text alerts by texting “New Jersey” to 202-618-5488. 

6)    Login to the NVIC Advocacy Portal OFTEN to check for updates: http://NVICAdvocacy.org. We review bills and make updates daily. Bills can change many times over the legislative process and your timely visits, calls, and emails directed at the correct legislators are critical to this process.  

TALKING POINTS (Personalize to share how this legislation affects you and your family): 

✰ OPPOSE S3240 / A4112 which require any person not currently enrolled in the vaccine registry/tracking system be enrolled when any vaccine is administered.

 S3240 / A4112 should be opposed because no one should have their private information put into a database without prior written consent. Consent should always be obtained and never assumed. Nothing in these bills requires that people been informed that they can request not to participate.   

✰ The registry is currently an OPT-IN system for adults for all vaccines with the exception of COVID-19 vaccines due to an executive order issued by the governor requiring everyone who had a COVID-19 vaccine to be included in the registry.

✰ What OPT-IN means is if you do nothing, your vaccine information will not be shared. You are out of the system. If you have not given consent, your vaccine status remains private between you and your health care provider and your vaccine status is not tracked by state government or released to other healthcare databases. 

✰ S3240 / A4112 would change the registry to an OPT-OUT system for adults where your consent to be tracked by the government and harassed with reminders to be vaccinated would be ASSUMED and your records would be shared across systems and stored in different databases automatically not only without your consent, but oftentimes even without your knowledge. You would have to affirmatively withdraw your participation, but data shared externally about you cannot easily be located, retrieved and removed. You would only be able to prevent further sharing if you took steps to fill out an OPT-OUT form.  The damage of revealing your vaccination status to the government and other entities can be done before you have a chance to OPT-OUT.

✰ For OPT-OUT to work, the health department has to minimally keep your identity in a refuser database so when vaccine status information is submitted by health care providers or other registry users into the registry, they will know whose data not to release. With OPT-OUT systems, the very people who don’t want to be tracked are tracked as dissidents and refusers of the system.

✰ We saw how terribly vaccine refusers were treated during the pandemic, and legislators should actively reject any legislation that allows for assumed consent for participation in these OPT-OUT vaccine tracking systems.

✰ This information could be used against you to limit your ability to participate in society.

✰ School vaccination requirements are an example of another OPT-OUT system with only medical and religious exemptions available for New Jersey children. With OPT-OUT systems like this, you run the risk of the right to refuse to be more easily removed as New Jersey had a close call over losing the religious exemption in 2019 and 2020.

 S3240 / A4112 are a step backwards for adults in New Jersey as these bills would strip adults of their rights to maintaining control over their private and confidential vaccination information and conform adults to the assumed consent mandatory tracking that New Jersey children are subjected to.

✰ Just because an adult consents to the administration of one vaccine, does not mean they want to be harassed to be vaccinated with all the other ones.

✰ OPPOSE S3240 / A4112 because it is simple and ethically responsible to ask for OPT-IN consent into the registry at the time a vaccination is given. This practice of obtaining consent should not be changed for adults, and the current laws that all allow for children to be automatically included should be amended to make the system OPT-IN for them as well.

HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD ARE IN THE NEW JERSEY VACCINE TRACKING SYSTEM AND HOW TO STOP THE INCLUSION AND SHARING OF YOUR DATA

Requesting a copy of your or your child’s NJIIS IMMUNIZATION RECORD will determine if you or your child is in the system:
https://www.nj.gov/health/forms/imm-46.pdf

NJIIS Registrant Withdrawal Form: https://www.state.nj.us/health/forms/imm-47.pdf

Sincerely, 

NVIC Advocacy Team 
National Vaccine Information Center 
http://NVIC.org and http://NVICAdvocacy.org 
https://nvicadvocacy.org/members/Members/ContactUs.aspx 

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